LANSING, MI- The Lake County Captains (10-5, 33-49) continued the offensive explosion from Wednesday night as they pounded out 13 runs on 13 hits en route to a 13-0 shutout of the Lansing Lugnuts (2-12, 34-49) on Thursday night in front of 12,692 people at Cooley Law School Stadium. The Captains have won a season-best five games in a row while Lansing has dropped seven straight.
Left-hander Ryan Merritt made the start for the Captains as he took on Javier Avendano for the Lugnuts.
Shortstop Dorssys Paulino, the second batter of the game, gave the Captains a 1-0 lead with his third home run of the season in the first.
Third baseman Erik Gonzalez joined the power party with his sixth homer of the year, a solo shot in the second inning.
The Captains put a four-spot on the board in the fourth inning while knocking Avendano from the game. The first two batters in the inning reached on walks. Gonzalez struck again with a RBI single to left field. Right fielder Anthony Santander plated two more runs with a two-run double to right field. Santander scored on a RBI single by left fielder Todd Hankins.
Avendano exited the game after the RBI single to Hankins. Lugnuts’ manager John Tamargo Jr. brought in reliever Kramer Champlin to face Paulino with runners on the corners and two out. Hankins was thrown out stealing second to end the threat for more runs.
Avendano took the loss, allowing six runs on six hits in three and two-thirds innings. He walked three and struck out three.
Chmaplin witnessed the same result as Avendano: the Captains’ offensive power. The Captains sent twelve men to the plate while scoring seven runs in the fifth. First baseman Joe Sever doubled home a run before Gonzalez drove in his third RBI of the game with a single. Catcher Eric Haase plated another run with a RBI single before Santander loaded the bags after being hit by a pitch. Designated hitter Jeremy Lucas continued the hit parade with a RBI single. With the bases loaded, second baseman Yhoxian Medina was hit by a pitch to bring in a run the hard way. Hankins ended the scoring with a two-run single to left field. After the inning was over, the Captains held a 13-0 lead.
Merritt shut down the Lugnuts over seven innings of work. He scattered five hits and two walks to pick up his fifth win of the year. He struck out four Lugnuts hitters before Benny Suarez entered for the eighth inning.
Champlin surrendered seven runs on seven hits in a painful four and one-third innings of relief. Tucker Donahue was the only pitcher to shutout the Captains with a scoreless ninth.
Suarez and Brown each blanked the Lugnuts in one inning of work.
The Captains had 13 hits on the fourth of July. In the first three games of the series, the Captains have outhit the Lugnuts 44-22 and outscored them 29-7.
The Captains were led by Gonzalez with a 3-5 along with 3 RBI’s. Gonzalez now leads the team with 36 RBI’s on the season. Three other players had two hits while every player in the lineup reached base at least once.
Toronto Blue Jays’ third baseman Brett Lawrie began his rehab assignment with the Lugnuts and he went 0-3 in seven innings.
The Captains and Lugnuts will conclude the four game home and home series on Friday night. RHP Dylan Baker (5-5, 3.63) will take the mound for Lake County as he faces LHP Alonzo Gonzalez (2-8, 5.65) for the Lugnuts. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.