EASTLAKE, OH – The Lake County Captains (11-9, 39-52) jumped to an early lead and then added runs throughout the game in a 14-3 win over the Great Lakes Loons (11-10, 45-46) on Friday night. The Captains achieved a season-high in runs with 14 with big nights from Clint Frazier and Nellie Rodriguez.
Lake County jumped to an early lead in the bottom of the first inning. Following a leadoff strikeout, the next four batters reached base with three singles and one double. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez singled home a run and catcher Eric Haase doubled to left field to plate one. Right fielder Torsten Boss walked to load the bases with one out. Left fielder Dorssys Paulino drove a fly ball to center field, deep enough to Rodriguez from third. Third baseman Grant Fink lined a ball to left field and the fielder could not catch it. Haase scampered home for a 4-0 lead after one inning.
Centerfielder Clint Frazier hit his eighth homerun of the year in the second inning putting the Captains in front by five.
Haase opened the third inning with a bunt single and he advanced to second on a wide throw by the Loons’ pitcher Greg Harris. On a fly ball, Haase moved to third base with one out. Harris threw a pitch to the backstop with Haase hurrying home. Lake County held a 6-0 lead after three innings.
After sitting down the first nine Loons batters in order, Dace Kime gave up a leadoff single to second baseman Jesmuel Valentin. Valentin was sacrificed to second on a bunt and moved to third on a single. Valentin scored on a fielder’s choice at second base by third baseman Paul Hoenecke. Great Lakes cut the lead to 6-1.
Harris lasted three innings, before leaving the game. He gave up six runs (four earned) on six hits. He walked one and fanned five before making way for southpaw Michael Johnson. Johnson allowed two runs on two hits in two innings with two walks and four strikeouts.
Johnson surrendered a broken-bat leadoff bloop single to designated hitter Brian Ruiz in the fourth. Two batters later, Frazier took Johnson deep to the bleachers in left field. Frazier became the fourth different Captain to have a multi-homer game this year.
Designated hitter Webster Rivas put the second run on the board in the fifth inning. Rivas hit his third homerun of the year to left field. Great Lakes was behind 8-2 at the halfway point.
In the sixth, Great Lakes loaded the bases with a double, walk and a fielding error. Left fielder Alex Santana plated a run on an infield single to third base. The Loons cut the lead to 8-3.
Lake County gained three runs back in the sixth inning against Loons’ reliever Jordan Hershiser. Shortstop Ivan Castillo and Frazier led off with back-to-back singles and then they completed a double-steal of second and third. Two batters later, Rodriguez scored them all with a three-run shot to left field. Rodriguez has sixteen homers on the year.
Kime picked up his fifth win of the year after going six innings on Friday night. He gave up three runs (two earned) on five hits with two walks and four strikeouts. Justin Garcia made his 2014 Captains debut in the seventh.
Kime said that his season has been a turn around because he has changed his mind-set. “I was letting go of the mechanical changes and I wanted to go out there and compete and get comfortable.”
Hershiser was charged with three runs allowed in one inning. Mark Pope entered and suffered the same fate in the seventh. The Captains had five hits and plated three runs in the inning to blow up the lead to 14-3. The runs were scored on a RBI groundout by Ruiz, a RBI double by Castillo and a RBI single by Nellie Rodriguez.
Garcia threw two scoreless innings with three strikeouts and Jimmy Stokes threw a perfect ninth inning for the Captains.
Jacob Rhame was the only Great Lakes pitcher to not give up a run.
The Captains got a five hit game from Frazier, the second this year by the Captains. Grant Fink had a five hit game last Sunday. Frazier had three singles and two homeruns. Rodriguez added three hits to drive in five runs. Rodriguez is the first Captains to drive in five.
Captains manager Mark Budzinski was impressed with the all-around oerformance by the team, “We have had a lot of different guys contribute lately and they are staying on the ball and scoring runs. Nellie and Clint were hammering the ball to all parts of the ballpark.”
Frazier said that he felt locked in all his at-bats, “The first AB set the tone for the rest of the game.”