EASTLAKE, OH – On a night that focused on the movie “Major League” and the prime giveaway was a Jobu bobble head, the Lake County Captains (19-20, 46-63) bats were alive as they defeated the Bowling Green Hot Rods (16-24, 48-61) 8-1 on Friday night in front of 9,069 fans at Classic Park.
The Captains jumped out in front with a four-run third inning as the first six men reached base. Designated hitter Brian Ruiz led off with a single and scored on second baseman Claudio Bautista’s RBI double to left field.
Shortstop Ivan Castillo was hit by a Slaton pitch before centerfielder Clint Frazier singled. On the single, Bautista scored from second and Castillo advanced to third on a fielding error. Third baseman Paul Hendrix walked to load the bases with no outs. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez lined a ground-rule double to left field. Castillo and Frazier scored on the double.
Slaton struck out the next batter before leaving the game. Andrew Hanse entered with one out and two on. Hanse retired the last two batters of the frame.
Slaton fell to 0-2 in three starts as he allowed four runs on five hits in two and one third innings of work. He walked two, struck out three and hit one batter.
Lake County expanded the lead to 5-0 with a run in the fourth. Bautista laced a one-out single to left field. He moved to second on a groundout, advanced to third on a passed ball and scored on a Hanse wild pitch.
Brown won his second straight start as he improved to 4-8 on the year. He scattered three hits (all singles) and four walks in five innings to keep the Hot Rods scoreless. Brown fanned four in his outing. Southpaw Anderson Polanco entered for the sixth.
The Hot Rods poor defense led to two runs in the sixth. Third baseman Douglas Duran entered and made an error on a groundball by left fielder Dorssys Paulino. Catcher Richard Stock grounded into a near fielder’s choice but the second baseman made a throwing error, putting runners at first and second. After a strikeout, Hanse tried to pickoff Stock at first but the throw was offline. Paulino scored and Stock moved to third. Bautista singled home Stock for his third hit of the night. Lake County led 7-0 after six innings.
The Hot Rods pushed their only run across in the seventh inning. Center fielder Julian Ridings opened with a double to right field. Right fielder Elias Torres singled Ridings to third base. Ridings scored on a missed catch by Bautista on a double play ball.
Hanse allowed three unearned runs in his three and two innings of work. He allowed two hits and did not walk a batter. He struck out six batters. Josh Kimborowicz entered for the seventh and allowed one run in two innings.
Rodriguez took a pitch from Kimborowicz deep to right field for his eighteenth homerun of the year. Lake County had a 8-1 lead and that was the final score.
The Captains outhit the Hot Rods 9-6 in the game. Bautista led the way with three hits and two RBI in the game. Rodriguez and Frazier had two hits each. Rodriguez drove in three runs to up his team-leading 62 RBI total.
Lake County and Bowling Green will continue their three-game series on Saturday. RHP Jordan Milbrath (3-10, 3.33) will start for the Captains against RHP Jake Faria (6-6, 3.73) for the Hot Rods. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 PM.