EASTLAKE, OH – The Lake County Captains (10-24) broke their four-game losing streak with a dominant pitching performance and a couple of long balls on Thursday evening at Classic Park. The Captains took game one of the series with the Bowling Green Hot Rods (15-18) 5-1, snapping the Hot Rods’ six-game winning streak.
The starting pitching matchup featured a pair of pitching prospects.Adam Plutko started for the Captains, as a 11th round pick in the 2013 Draft. RHP Ryne Stanek, the Rays’ 1st round draft pick (29thoverall) made his first professional start for the Hot Rods.
The two rookie pitchers battled with zeroes until the Captains struck first in the fourth inning. Third baseman Grant Fink took Stanek deep to the batters eye in center field. Fink’s first homerun of the game gave the Captains a 1-0 lead.
“It was a slider over the middle. I put a smooth swing on the ball and drove it,” Fink spoke off his homerun in the fourth.
The homerun to Fink was Stanek’s only mistake as Stanek allowed one run on five hits in five innings. He did not walk a batter, and struck out six Captains in his first pro loss. He made way for Aaron Griffin, younger brother of Oakland Athletics pitcher A.J. Griffin, in the sixth.
Griffin ran into some trouble in the sixth. Shortstop Paul Hendrix led off the inning with a double. Catcher Eric Haase followed with his Midwest League-leading seventh homerun of the year, a two-run shot to right field. Three batters later, Fink stepped to the plate and hit his second homerun of the game to the bleachers in left field.
“The second one was a second pitch fastball that just carried over the wall,” added Fink on his multi-homer game.
Plutko struck out a career-high 13 batters over eight shutout innings of work. Plutko scattered three hits, all singles while not walking a single batter. At one point, Plutko fanned six straight Hot Rod batters.
“Adam (Plutko) couldn’t have pitched much better tonight. He mixed his pitches very well. He was controlling all three of his pitches extremely well throughout the game,” Captains manager Mark Budzinski said after the game on Plutko’s great game.
Trevor Frank entered in relief for the Captains for the ninth. Designated hitter Alexander Simon rocketed a ground-rule double over the center field fence to greet Frank. Frank uncorked a wild pitch, moving Simon to third. Shortstop Juniel Querecuto broke up the shutout with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Griffin gave up four runs on four hits in three innings of relief for Bowling Green.
Frank surrendered one run on one hit in his one inning to end the game.
“Tonight’s game was more of what we are capable of. Some of the games in West Michigan could have gone our way. Tonight was a good sign,” Budzinski spoke of the overall effort of the team.
The Captains and Hot Rods will continue the three-game series on Friday night. Lake County will send RHP Mitch Brown (0-5, 6.57) to the mound against RHP Hunter Wood (1-0, 2.82) for the Hot Rods. First pitch from the corner of Route 91 and Vine Street is scheduled for 6:30 PM.