LANSING, MI- The Lansing Lugnuts (21-23) completed a sweep of the Lake County Captains (15-29) on Thursday night by a final score of 6-1. The Captains have lost four straight as the Lugnuts have won eight straight games.
Lansing scored three runs in the bottom of the first inning to take an early lead. Center fielder Dalton Pompey reached on a fielding error to lead off the inning. Left fielder Dwight Smith dropped a bunt single to third base. Third baseman Erik Gonzalez made another error as he threw the groundball past the first baseman, allowing Pompey to score. Smith was thrown out trying to steal third base before second baseman Christian Lopes coaxed a walk.
Enter first baseman Kevin Patterson, who hit his fifth homerun of the year, a two-run shot to right field. Patterson has hit four home runs against Lake County in 2013.
Norris threw four shutout innings, allowing only three hits and two walks. He struck out a season-high ten batters. He made way for Kramer Champlin in the fifth inning.
After the rough first inning, Merritt calmed down and only allowed two more hits in his six innings of work. Merritt was hung with the loss, with three runs (two earned) allowed on four hits. He walked one batter and struck out four.
The Lugnuts added two more runs in the seventh off of Captains reliever Felix Sterling. Catcher Aaron Munoz reached on Gonzalez’s third error of the night with one out. Shortstop Jorge Flores followed with a walk. After a groundout, Smith lined a single through the middle, plating Munoz and Flores.
Louis Head replaced Sterling in the eighth inning. Patterson led off with a single to center field. A throwing error by Head moved Patterson to third base. Right fielder Carlos Ramirez scored Patterson with a groundout.
Champlin made way for Tucker Donahue in the ninth inning. Champlin earned the win with four shutout innings, only allowing two hits with two walks and four strikeouts.
The Captains broke through in the ninth inning to break the shutout. First baseman Leo Castillo singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Designated hitter LeVon Washington doubled home Castillo with one out. A hit batter, a walk and a wild pitch loaded the bases with two outs.
Jose Tamargo Jr. made the call to the bullpen for Wil Browning to face Gonzalez. Browning instigated a game-ending groundout to pick up his third save of the year.
Sterling allowed two unearned runs in his inning of relief. Head followed with an inning of one-run ball.
Donahue allowed one run on two hits in two thirds of an inning.
Lake County outhit Lansing 9-6 in the game but Lake County committed six errors, a season-high. Washington led the team with a 3-for-3 game. He had two singles, a double, two walks and three stolen bases.
The Captains will return home to Eastlake for a scheduled off-day on Friday. The West Michigan Whitecaps will come to town for a three-game series starting on Saturday night. Lake County will send RHP Michael Peoples (1-2, 3.08) to the mound to start the ballgame against West Michigan RHP Yorfrank Lopez (4-2, 4.33). First pitch will be at 6:30 p.m. with fireworks to follow.