LANSING, MI- The Lansing Lugnuts (20-23) took an early lead and withheld a ninth-inning comeback by the Lake County Captains (15-28) to take the Wednesday morning game by a final score of 9-8 at Cooley Law School Stadium.
Lake County jumped to a 2-0 lead in the top of the first. Third baseman Erik Gonzalez led off the game with a solo home run to center field, his third of the year. Shortstop Dorssys Paulino followed with a triple, followed by center fielder Logan Vick driving him in with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Lansing fought back with a five spot in the bottom half of the inning. Second baseman Christian Lopes drove in a run with a RBI single. The big blows in the inning were a pair of two-run home runs by designated hitter Kevin Patterson and right fielder Carlos Ramirez. Patterson has hit three of his four home runs this season against the Captains.
Center fielder Dalton Pompey plated his 10th RBI of the year with a RBI double in the bottom of the fourth inning. Lansing led 6-2 after four innings of play.
The Captains gained a run in the fifth inning to close the gap to three runs. Second baseman Claudio Bautista led off the inning with a double. White attempted to pick Bautista off at second base but the throw was off-line. Bautista advanced to third on the throwing error. Gonzalez grounded out, resulting in a run for the Captains.
DeJesus was replaced after four innings, taking the loss. He allowed six runs on seven hits with two walks and a season-high eight strikeouts. DeJesus now leads the league in home runs allowed with 10 this year. Luis Morel came in to pitch the fifth inning.
White got his second win of the year after five innings. He surrendered three runs on six hits while allowing three walks and fanning four batters. Reliever Efrain Nieves entered the game in the sixth inning.
Lansing opened a seven-run advantage with three runs in the seventh. First baseman Kellen Sweeney lined a one-out single to left field. Two consecutive wild pitches moved Sweeney to third base. Lopes coaxed a one-out walk. Morel’s third wild pitch moved Lopes into scoring position. Patterson struck again with a RBI single to center field. A fielding error by Paulino brought in another run. Left fielder Chris Hawkins ended the scoring for the Lugnuts with a RBI single.
Ian Kadish relieved Nieves for the ninth inning. Nieves threw three scoreless innings of relief with two hits and four strikeouts. Kadish was rocked by the Captains to start the ninth.
Left fielder Jorge Martinez scored right fielder Anthony Santander with a single after Santander led off with a double. Martinez stole second before Bautista reached on a fielding error by the third baseman. Gonzalez laced a two-run triple to right field. Paulino doubled home Gonzalez before Lansing manager Jose Tamargo Jr. made the call to the bullpen to summon closer Arik Sikula.
Sikula allowed a two-out double to catcher Jeremy Lucas before getting the game-ending strikeout. Lansing won the game 9-8 despite Lake County’s five runs in the ninth.
Kadish allowed five runs (three earned runs) on four hits without recording an out. Sikula picked up his fourth save with a scoreless ninth inning.
Morel’s final line was four innings with three runs (two earned) on three hits. He walked one and struck out two.
Paulino and Santander led the Captains with three hits each. Paulino had his first three-hit game of the season and he was a home run shy of the cycle. Gonzalez drove in half of the runs in the game.
The Captains and Lugnuts will conclude their three-game series on Thursday night. LHP Ryan Merritt (2-3, 3.35 ERA) will take the ball for Lake County. For Lansing, LHP Daniel Norris (0-3, 7.71 ERA) will make the start. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM from Cooley Law School Stadium.