COMSTOCK PARK, MI - One night after opening their three-game series against the Lansing Lugnuts with a blowout win, the West Michigan Whitecaps got a taste of their own medicine in a 9-3 loss on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
West Michigan (8-5, 49-34) pounded out 16 hits in a 12-4 victory on Tuesday, but Lansing (7-6, 39-43) exacted their revenge on Wednesday with 16 hits of their own to end the Whitecaps' five-game winning streak to start the homestand.
The action started off promisingly enough for the 'Caps as they took on Lugnuts' starting pitcher Brad Allen, who threw the first no-hitter in 10 years at Fifth Third Ballpark the last time he took the mound against West Michigan.
Just two batters into the bottom of the first inning, Javier Betancourt lofted a solo home run to left field to ensure there would be no repeat performance for Allen. Raph Rhymes followed with a triple and the Whitecaps' recently-hot offense appeared to be off and running, but the momentum quickly turned.
After Dominic Ficociello drew a walk, Rhymes was thrown out trying to take home on an attempted double steal. West Michigan went on to strand runners at second and third while Allen retired the next seven batters he faced in order.
The 1-0 lead turned out to be short-lived. Jason Leblebijian started his 3-for-5 night with a run-scoring single that tied the game in the top of the second. Lansing opened the third inning with four straight hits on their way to three more runs. Derrick Loveless, who also put together a 3-for-5 performance, doubled and scored in the fifth to push the Lugnuts' lead to 5-1.
Francisco Contreras drilled a solo homer off the manual scoreboard in the fifth inning to cut the deficit to 5-2, but Lansing plated four more runs in the sixth and seventh innings to assert a 9-2 advantage.
Rhymes was one of the lone bright spots for West Michigan, staying hot with a 2-for-5 performance that included an RBI-double in the ninth inning for the game's final run. Over the last three days, Rhymes is 8-for-15 with six extra-base hits and eight RBI.
Alonzo Gonzalez (1-0) earned the win out of the Lansing bullpen, taking over for Allen in the fourth and working three innings. He struck out five without issuing a walk and allowed one run on four hits.
Chad Green (2-3) suffered the loss after giving up five runs on eight hits over five frames.
The Whitecaps conclude their seven-game homestand at Fifth Third Ballpark on Thursday night with a 7:00 p.m. first pitch against the Lansing Lugnuts. RHP Jonathon Crawford (4-2, 2.60) is scheduled to pitch for West Michigan against RHP Jeremy Gabryszwski (6-2, 3.33) of Lansing as the Whitecaps celebrate Independence Day one night early with an Altogas Thrifty Thursday, patriotic promotions and a Family Fare fireworks show. Season, group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps' front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
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