EASTLAKE, OH – The Lake County Captains (32-27, 59-70) opened a seven run lead and they survived a late-inning comeback by the Fort Wayne Tincaps (26-34, 56-73) on Friday night. The Captains took the second game of the series 8-7. The magic number to clinch a playoff spot is now six with ten games to play.
“Every game against the Tincaps has been tough to close out. They are a good offensive team and they won’t lay down. The win tonight puts us in a good position for the playoffs. We can only control our own play and all we are doing now is going out there and playing well,” said Captains manager Mark Budzinski on the playoff race and the last few games with Fort Wayne.
Right-hander Ronald Herrera kept the Captains scoreless until the offense erupted for five runs in the third. Third baseman Grant Fink opened the inning with a solo shot to the bleachers in left field. After a groundout, the next six batters reached base. The big blows during the streak were a RBI single by designated hitter Paul Hendrix, two-run double by first baseman Nellie Rodriguez and a RBI single by left fielder Dorssys Paulino.
Paulino’s base knock ended Herrera’s night after two and one third innings. Herrera gave up five runs on seven hits with one walk and one strikeout as he fell to 6-9. Erik Cabrera came in and got a double play to end the frame without any further damage.
Right fielder Brian Ruiz lined a one-out double to right field in the fourth inning. A groundout moved Ruiz to third base and Ruiz came home on a wild pitch on a walk. The Captains led 6-1 after four innings.
In the fifth inning, the Captains inflated the lead to six runs. Rodriguez singled, moved to second on a passed ball and advanced to third on a groundout. Paulino tripled over the centerfielder’s head to plate Rodriguez. Paulino attempted to score on a wild pitch but was thrown out at the dish.
A sacrifice double play with the bases loaded by Hendrix in the sixth gave the Captains the biggest lead of the night at seven runs.
Brown went six innings to win his fifth game out of the last six starts. He allowed one run on six hits before leaving the game. Brown did not walk a batter for the third time this season. He fanned eight batters, including six straight at one time. Luis Dejesus came in for the seventh inning.
With two on and two out in the seventh inning, Turner lined a RBI single to center field to cut the lead to six against Dejesus.
Cabrera surrendered three runs on six hits in three and two thirds innings for Fort Wayne. He walked two and struck out one. Jorge Guzman pitched the seventh for the visitors.
Dejesus ran into trouble in the eighth. A leadoff single was erased on a fielder’s choice. Two batters later, right fielder Nick Schultz lined a two-run homerun to the bleachers. The homer marked the end of Dejesus’ night. Southpaw Wander Beras entered and retired the final two batters.
Dejesus allowed three runs on five hits in one and two thirds innings.
A three-run ninth inning made it a one-run game. Two singles and a hit batter loaded the bases with no outs. Beras walked in a run to make it 8-5. Beras then got an unassisted double play at second base to erase a runner. Beras was removed in favor of the closer Trevor Frank.
Frank threw a wild pitch to score another run. A RBI single by catcher Ryan Miller put the Tincaps one run back. Frank struck out the next batter to end the game and earn his seventeenth save.
Beras was charged with three runs in one inning of work.
The Tincaps and Captains tied with thirteen hits apiece. Four different Captains had two-hit games including shortstop Ivan Castillo, Rodriguez, Paulino and Ruiz.
The Captains and Tincaps will conclude the short three game series on Saturday night. RHP Jordan Milbrath (3-12, 3.71) will start for the Captains against RHP Jimmy Brasoban (2-4, 6.63) for the Tincaps. First pitch from Classic Park is set for 7:00 PM.