EASTLAKE, OHIO- The Lake County Captains (14-14, 36-58) jumped out to a 4-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back as they snapped a four-game losing streak with a 5-3 win over the Quad Cities River Bandits (15-12, 53-43) on Saturday night.
The Captains rudely greeted the River Bandits with four runs in the first inning. Shortstop Dorssys Paulino hit his fourth home run of the year to right field to take a 1-0 lead. First baseman Joe Severlined a two-out double down the left field line and scored on a RBI double by third baseman Erik Gonzalez. Designated hitter Richard Stock continued his hitting streak with a two-run shot to the fieldhouse in right field.
Manager Scooter Tucker was pleased by his team’s early at-bats, “We always want to get ahead early in any game. Dorssys helped us do that as the second batter when he hit his home run. We had a lot of aggressive at-bats early and that was the key.”
Lake County added a run on a bases-loaded RBI single by Sever in the fourth inning to make the lead 5-0.
Devenski exited the game after four innings after allowing five runs on nine hits. He walked one and struck out a season-high seven batters. Devenski dropped his second straight decision. Juri Perezrelieved the starter in the fifth inning.
Quad Cities got on the scoreboard in the sixth inning after center fielder Teoscar Hernandez hit a solo home run for his team-leading seventh home run of the year.
Catcher Luis Alvarez pulled the River Bandits to a 5-2 deficit when he hit his second home run of the season to the top row of the bleachers.
Merritt pitched seven innings for the fifth time in 2013 as he earned his sixth win of the year. He allowed two runs (both on home runs) on six hits. He walked one and fanned two batters before giving way toGrant Sides in the eighth.
Tucker spoke highly of Merritt’s performance as well, “Merritt did a great job tonight and he threw a lot of strikes that helped us. He has been solid all year.”
The River Bandits nearly closed the gap in the ninth inning against Sides. Left fielder Jordan Scottcoaxed a leadoff walk. Scott moved to second on a walk and scored on a RBI single by third basemanRio Ruiz. With the tying run at first base and two outs, right fielder Dan Gulbransen lifted a fly ball to right-center field. Captains’ center fielder Logan Vick caught on a dead sprint to end the game.
Sides allowed one run in his two innings of relief work. He earned his first save of the year.
Perez finished the game for the River Bandits with four scoreless innings. He gave up two hits and two walks.
Stock had one hit on the night as he extended his hitting streak to ten games. Stock said, “My home run came on a 0-1 changeup that he (Devenski) left over the plate and I capitalized on it.”
Sever added three hits to push his average to .296 on the season. Left fielder Todd Hankins, Paulino and Gonzalez all had multi-hit games on Saturday night.
The Captains and River Bandits will continue the three game series on Sunday night. The Captains will send RHP Luis Morel (2-1, 5.44) to the mound in place of RHP Robbie Aviles. He will be opposed by left-hander Joe Bircher (1-0, 2.60) for Quad Cities. First pitch is set for 7:00 PM with fireworks to follow.