COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The West Michigan Whitecaps managed just five singles and committed four errors in a 5-0 loss to the Dayton Dragons on Thursday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
One night after West Michigan (5-3, 38-40) opened the series with a six-hit shutout, the Whitecaps' had their winning streak snapped at four as Dayton (4-4, 32-45) returned the favor with a five-hit shutout on Thursday. The rubber match of the three-game set will take place on Friday night.
The game was scoreless until the Dragons seized control with the help of some sloppy play in the sixth and seventh innings.
New Whitecaps' reliever Calvin Drummond made his Midwest League in the sixth. He initially got some help with Zach Vincej at third and one out when a drawn-in infield cut down the runner at the plate on a bouncer to Devon Travis. But, with Seth Mejias-Brean at first and two gone, an errant pickoff throw by Drummond advanced the runner to third and a passed ball brought him home for the game's first run.
In the seventh, Dayton loaded the bases with nobody out and got a sacrifice fly from Daniel Pigott to push the margin to 2-0. Vincej followed by cueing a ball off the end of his bat into foul territory up the first base line, but the spinning baseball took a quirky bounce back into fair territory and past the first baseman. The base hit scored one run, and a second man came home when right fielder Zach Kirksey's throw to third skipped past Jason King. Jesse Winker added a sacrifice fly to cap the four-run inning and give Dayton a comfortable 5-0 lead.
Drummond (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing one unearned run in his lone inning of work.
Sal Romano (5-7) led the way for Dayton, dealing six shutout innings and allowing just three hits. He struck out five and walked three, combining with three Dragons' relievers to allow just five singles.
Travis and Jeff Holm each went 2-for-3, but the rest of the Whitecaps' lineup was a collective 1-for-23.
Overshadowed by the shutout loss was another strong pitching performance by 19-year-old Jake Thompson. The Detroit Tigers' top pick in the 2012 draft threw five shutout innings, striking out three without issuing a walk and yielding just four singles. Dating back to his last start, Thompson has thrown 10 straight scoreless innings.
The Whitecaps continue their homestand at Fifth Third Ballpark at 7:00 p.m. on Friday night with the finale of a three-game series against the Dayton Dragons. RHP Endrys Briceno (4-4, 4.18) is scheduled to pitch for West Michigan against LHP Ismael Guillon (3-6, 6.24) of the Dragons on a Tiger Friday featuring an appearance by Lou Whitaker and a bobblehead doll giveaway in his likeness for the first 2,000 fans. Group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
Click here to view the box score.