COMSTOCK PARK, MI - Jeff Holm went 2-for-4 with a home run and a triple, but the West Michigan Whitecaps committed two errors that led to two costly unearned runs in a 5-3 loss to the Dayton Dragons on Friday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
West Michigan (5-4, 38-41) lost the rubber match of their three-game series against Dayton (5-4, 33-45), winning the opener in shutout fashion on Wednesday before committing six errors over the final two losses. The Whitecaps have now been charged with 106 errors that have led to 69 unearned runs this season.
Endrys Briceno (4-5) started for the Whitecaps and took the loss despite pitching well. The very first pitch he threw was bounced towards shortstop David Gonzalez, who fired high to first as Beau Amaral reached base on the error. Briceno retired the next two batters, but Jeff Gelalich lined a single just over Gonzalez's leaping attempt to score the runner for a 1-0 lead.
Jared Reaves tied the game with a solo homer in the bottom of the first and Briceno cruised over the next few innings, retiring 12 straight batters at one point.
That included the first two outs of the fifth inning, but Dayton responded with three consecutive two-out singles, including a run-scoring bouncer up the middle from Sammy Diaz that put the Dragons ahead, 2-1.
Dayton's Daniel Pigott belted a two-run homer in the top of the sixth, while Holm answered with a solo blast in the bottom half of the frame. The Dragons added another unearned run in the seventh to go ahead by as much as 5-2 before West Michigan mounted a late comeback.
Holm continued his strong night with a great defensive play in the eighth, making a diving stop on a ball down the first base line to end the inning as Dayton left the bases loaded.
In the bottom of the eighth, he ripped a ball to nearly the same spot that got down the line for a triple. He later scored on a two-out hit by Connor Harrell that cut the deficit to 5-3, and a single by Jake Stewart followed by a walk to Adolfo Reina loaded the bases.
But Dayton countered by bringing in their closer, Ben Klimesh, who struck out Zach Kirksey to end the threat and retired the side in order in the ninth to earn his fifth save.
Briceno took the loss despite allowing just two runs - one earned - on five hits over five innings. He struck out one and did not issue a walk.
Ismael Guillon (4-6) earned the win with a strong performance for Dayton, allowing two runs on four hits over six innings. He struck out six while issuing three walks and giving up a pair of solo home runs.
The Whitecaps continue their homestand at Fifth Third Ballpark at 7:00 p.m. on Saturday night with the opener of a three-game series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. LHP Jordan John (5-3, 2.87) is scheduled to pitch for West Michigan against RHP Reinaldo Lopez (2-4, 3.04) of the Dragons on Star Wars Night, which will also feature a spectacular post-game fireworks display. 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.