Lansing, Michigan-The Lake County Captains opened the 2015 Midwest League season on the short end of a 3-2 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts on Friday night at Cooley Law School Stadium. The Captains have dropped two straight season openers to Lansing.
The Captains drew first blood in the top of the first inning against Lugnuts’ starter Chase De Jong. Centerfielder Greg Allen led off with a walk and he rounded the bases on a RBI double by shortstop Yu-Cheng Chang.
Lansing tied the game up at one run apiece in the third inning.Third baseman Gunnar Heidt walked to open the frame and advanced to second on a groundout. Shortstop Richard Urena lined a two-out single to center field, scoring Heidt from second base.
The Captains ran into trouble in the fourth inning as a crucial error led to two runs for Lansing. Catcher Danny Jensen reached second base on a one-out error by left fielder Dorssys Paulino. Paulino dropped the fly ball, allowing Jensen to advance to second rather than it being the second out. Following a strikeout, Left fielder Chris Carlson singled home Jansen to give Lansing a 2-1 lead. Captains’ sarter Dace Kime threw a wild pitch moving Carlson to second base. Heidt plated Carlson with a sinhgle to right field.
Lake County knocked De Jong out of the game in the fifth inning. Allen lined a two-out double to left field. De Jong was replaced by reliever Mark Biggs. Biggs threw a wild pitch to the backstop, advancing Allen ninety feet from scoring. Cheng walked to put runners on the corners with two outs. Biggs got a popout to end the threat.
De Jong did not pick up the win as he threw 4.2 innings, short of the five inning requirement. He scattered four hits, one run and two walks while he struck out a career-high nine batters.
Kime took the loss as he gave up three runs (one earned) on four hits in five innings of work. He walked one and fanned five batters in his second Opening Day start for Lake County. Jordan Carter entered and pitched a scoreless sixth inning.
The Captains pulled within a run in the seventh inning to make it 3-2. Second baseman Claudio Bautista singled to begin the rally and moved to second base on a groundout. Allen struck again as he singled home Bautista. Allen swiped second base before the inning was ended by a strikeout.
Biggs picked up the win with one run allowed on two hits in 2.1 innings with one walk and three strikeouts.
In the eighth, Francisco Gracesqui walked two of the three Captains batters he faced but got a double play before departing. Phil Kish walked one but extinguished the threat.
Carter struck out batters in two innings of work for the Captains. Reliever Nick Pasquale threw a scoreless eighth inning in his first game action since 2013. Pasquale missed 2014 with a shoulder injury.
Kish earned the save with 1.1 scoreless innings with a walk and a strikeout.
The Captains outhit the Lugnuts 6-4 in the opener. Allen had two hits, including the RBI double. Chang, first baseman Bobby Bradley and third baseman Grant Fink each reached base twice.
The Captains and Lugnuts will take place in a scheduled doubleheader tomorrow to conclude the series. Lefty Anderson Polanco will get the game one start for Lake County and will be countered by Starlyn Suriel. Southpaw Justus Sheffield will start game two for Lake County and will be opposed by Shane Dawson. First pitch is set for 12:05 PM with game two taking place 25 minutes following the conclusion of game one.