EASTLAKE, Ohio – The Lake County Captains (15-9, 42-52) used a power surge in the six-run third inning to extend their season-high winning streak to six games with a 6-3 win over the Great Lakes Loons (11-13, 45-49). Lake County completed a four game sweep of the Loons.
The Captains sent nine men to the plate as they scored six runs in the third inning. Designated hitter Brian Ruiz laced a one-out double to center field. Second baseman Claudio Bautista singled home Ruiz for the first run. Centerfielder Clint Frazier continued his hitting streak to seven games with a single. Shortstop Paul Hendrix took the Loons starter Scott Barlow deep to right field for his tenth homerun of the year. First baseman Nellie Rodriguezsingled and came around to score on shortstop Dorssys Paulino’s second homerun of the year.
Loons manager Bill Haselman made the call to the bullpen to bring in right-hander Kyle Hooper. Hooper struck out the final batter of the inning. Barlow gave up six runs on seven hits in two and two thirds innings. He walked one and fanned five to fall to 3-4.
Great Lakes scratched across their only run of the game in the sixth inning. Catcher Jose Capellan singled to open the frame. Second baseman Jesmuel Valentin doubled Capellan to third base with no outs. The next batter struck out. Designated hitter Joey Curletta hit a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Capellan from third moments beforeJorge Martinez’s cutoff throw gunned down Valentin going to third to end the inning.
Jordan Milbrath pitched six strong innings to pick up his third win of the year. Milbrath gave up three hits and one run to go along with three walks and five strikeouts. Milbrath had an 11.2 scoreless inning streak snapped in the sixth inning. Southpaw Anderson Polanco entered with a scoreless seventh inning.
“Jordan gave us six great innings tonight, he competed well throughout the game, even pitching with the lead,” said Budzinski.
Great Lakes took advantage of a Captains error in the eighth inning to come two runs closer. Left fielder Jacob Scavuzzo walked to open the frame. Two batters later, Capellan lifted a fly ball to deep left field within reach of Paulino. He dropped the ball allowing the runners to advance to second and third, respectively. Following a strikeout, right fielder Alex Santana lined a two-run double to left field. Lake County held a 6-3 lead after eight innings.
Polanco gave up two unearned runs in two innings of work in relief.
The Loons bullpen that comprised of five different pitchers shut down the Captains over the last five and a third innings. The pitchers only allowed one hit and one walk. They struck out the Captains nine times in the final five. Loons pitching retired the final twelve batters.
Jimmy Stokes walked a tightrope in the ninth inning to record his first save of the year. He retired the first two batters before walking the next two batters. Great Lakes brought a pinch hitter to the plate and Stokes got him to strike out swinging to end the game and complete the sweep.
Captains manager Mark Budzinski spoke highly of the team as of late, with the six game winning streak, “We have had some really good games lately, great pitching in every game. The guys have stuck with the process throughout the season and they have become more aggressive at the plate.”
Bautista and Rodriguez had multi-hit games for the Captains on Monday night. Rodriguez now has a 14 game hitting streak and a 25 game on-base streak. The big blasts came from Hendrix and Paulino via the long ball.
The Captains will hop on a bus Tuesday afternoon to travel to Cedar Rapids, Iowa for a three game series. RHPCaleb Hamrick (3-4, 6.50 ERA) will start for the Captains on Wednesday against RHP Chih-Wei Hu (0-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Kernels. First pitch is set for 7:35 p.m.