COMSTOCK PARK, MI – The West Michigan Whitecaps (25-18) pulled away from the Lake County Captains (13-30) with a five-run sixth inning winning 9-3 on Sunday afternoon. The Whitecaps broke the Captains two-game winning streak, and managed a split of the four-game series.
The home team took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Left fielder Tyler Gibson led off with a single and moved to third on a single by second baseman Javier Betancourt. Designated hitter Raph Rhymes plated Gibson with a sacrifice fly to right field.
West Michigan added to the lead with another run in the third. Gibson walked and made it all the way around to score by a sacrifice bunt, fielder’s choice and a single. Right fielder Ben Verlander had the RBI single to double the lead.
The Captains had their own version of a big inning in the fourth. Third baseman Grant Fink hit a ground-rule-double with two outs. Designated hitter Anthony Santander followed with a walk. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez took the lead with a three-run homerun to the batter’s eye in center field. Rodriguez has seven homeruns on the year. Catcher Richard Stock singled, but was thrown out at the plate on a double by second baseman Claudio Bautista.
The Whitecaps regained the lead with two runs in the fourth. Catcher Bennett Pickar and center fielder Wynton Bernard singled to open the inning. Betancourt singled home Pickar to tie the game, Bernard was thrown out going to third on the play. Rhymes struck again with a RBI triple to right field, plating Betancourt. West Michigan had the 5-3 lead.
Milbrath took the loss, after allowing four runs on eight hits in four innings. He walked three and struck out one before giving way to Caleb Hamrick in the fifth inning.
The five-run sixth inning did the Captains in as the first five men reached and scored. Bernard walked and scored on a failed pickoff attempt by Hamrick. Gibson walked and went to second on a Betancourt single. Rhymes drove in his third run of the game with a single to left field. First baseman Dominic Ficociello tripled home two runs to blow the lead to six runs.
Hamrick did not finish the inning as he was charged with five earned runs in one and one third innings of relief. He allowed four hits and three walks. Alexis Paredes entered and retired the only two batters he faced.
Farmer earned his fifth win of the year with three runs allowed in six innings on six hits. Farmer walked two and fanned nine batters. In three starts against the Captains, Farmer has struck out 27 batters in 19 innings.
Will LaMarche picked up his first save with three scoreless innings, while allowing just one hit.
As a team, the Captains had seven hits in the game. Rodriguez had two, a homerun and a double.
On Monday night, the Captains will come back to Eastlake for a three-game series with the Fort Wayne Tincaps. RHP Adam Plutko looks to rebound from his last start for the Captains and RHP Kyle Lloyd starts for the Tincaps. First pitch is at 6:30 PM from Classic Park.