EASTLAKE, OH- The Great Lakes Loons (6-2, 33-45) used another great pitching performance to defeat the Lake County Captains (5-3, 28-47) on Thursday afternoon by a final score of 3-1. The Captains have lost two straight after sweeping Bowling Green earlier this week.
Aviles and Martinez worked around a few baserunners while they exchanged zeroes for the first three innings.
The Loons used the long ball to gain a 2-0 lead in the top of the fourth inning. Shortstop Corey Seager led off with a single to right field. Following a flyout, right fielder Jeremy Rathjen hit his third home run of the year, a two-run shot that just cleared the fence in right field.
The Captains gained a run back in the bottom half on the frame. Right fielder Anthony Santander led off with a single back through the box. He scored all the way from first on a double by designated hitter Eric Haase down the left field line. Haase advanced to third on an errant cut-off throw. Haase was cut down at the dish on a fielder’s choice.
Martinez got out of a bases-loaded jam in the fifth inning. Martinez allowed two singles and a intentional walk with one out. First baseman Joe Sever grounded into an inning-ending, rally-killing double play.
Great Lakes added a run before Aviles departed from the game. Two walks and a double loaded the bases with one out. Third baseman Brandon Dixon drove in a run with a fielder’s choice. Aviles was relieved by Jack Wagoner, as Wagoner struck out the next batter to end the inning without further damage.
Aviles was hung with the tough-luck loss, allowing three runs on five hits in five and two thirds innings for his longest outing of the year. He walked four and fanned four batters.
Aviles added to a string of tremendous games by the Captains pitching staff. Manager Scooter Tucker spoke highly of the great effort as of late.
“Pitching is just like hitting because it is contagious,” Tucker said. “When one person goes well, everyone else around him becomes confident and it builds together.”
Martinez got the best of the starting pitchers as he went a season-high six innings. He gave up only one run on seven hits with two walks and one strikeout to earn his first win of the year. Scott Griggs entered and struck out all six batters he faced.
Wagoner was relieved to begin the eighth inning. Wagoner threw one and one-third innings of shutout ball. Josh Martin entered and struck out the side, all looking.
The hitting coach for the Loons, Mike Eylward was ejected in the middle of the eighth after jawing with home plate umpire Sam Vogt about the strike zone.
The Captains used a walk and a single with one-out to put the winning run at the plate in the bottom of the ninth. Two groundouts ended the game with the Captains on the short end of the stick. Craig Stem picked up his seventh save of the year with the scoreless ninth.
Martin struck out five batters in two innings of work.
“He was been very effective because he is a guy that will go right after hitters,” Tucker said.
The Captains went 0-for-8 with runners in scoring position as they left eight men on base throughout the game. In the first five innings, both teams combined for four strikeouts. In the final four innings, there were 14 strikeouts between the teams.
In the loss, the Captains outhit the Loons 8-6. Yhoxian Medina led the team with two hits to raise his average to .325 in 25 games since joining the team on May 29th.
“For the most part, he has been hitting low in the lineup, which is a real plus for us,” Tucker said about Medina. “He is comfortable with hitting in that spot, and he is good with having quality at-bats. He likes to take pitches, and he is effective with running the pitch count up. All of those are positive things and it shows he has a good feel for the game.”
The Captains and Loons will conclude their three game series on Friday night. RHP Jake Sisco (4-5, 3.00 ERA) will toe the rubber against sixteen year-old LHP Julio Arias (1-0, 3.74 ERA). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM from Classic Park.