With Austen Wade batting, a passed ball by allowed Tyler Friis to score the winning run, as the Lake County Captains (13-14) defeated the Beloit Snappers (10-13) by the score of 9-8 Saturday night at Classic Park.
With Friis beginning the Captains half of the 10th on second base, he advanced to third on a fly ball to center by Ernie Clement with just one away. Then on a 0-1 pitch, Snappers reliever Ty Damron pitched a ball to Snappers catcher Skyler Weber, and the ball bounced off Weber's mit and trickled to the backstop to allow Friis to score to give the Captains the 9-8 win.
In a game that saw four lead changes and two ties, there was a bit of everything in the contest. Snappers first baseman Miguel Mercedes finished a triple shy of the cycle, and Austin Beck arguably saved the game defensively with two great catches, the last was the fly out by Clement in the 10th.
Beck would save the game prior to his 10th inning heroics, with an incredible ranging over-the-shoulder catch to save the what would have been winning run from scoring from second base in the bottom of the ninth inning. With runners on first and second, Joe Vincente hit a ball into the alley that most thought would get down for the game winning hit. Beck had other plans, as he reeled in the long fly ball on the warning track to keep the runners at bay.
Mercedes had two attempts at the cycle, with the home run, double and single already in hand, Mercedes flew out to center in the seventh, and was intentionally walked to load the bases in the top of the ninth.
Logan Farrar began the scoring for the Snappers in the top of the first, as Farrar doubled home Trace Loehr, and Weber followed with an infield single to allow Farrar to score on a throwing error by Captains shortstop Ernie Clement.
Austen Wade scored on a wild pitch by Snappers starter Ivan Andueza in the bottom of the first, to cut the Snappers lead in half at 2-1.
Jack Meggs led off the top of the second inning with a solo blast to right field to give the Snappers a 3-1 edge, it was the outfielders first home run of the season.
The Captains then plated four straight runs with three in the bottom half to take the lead, and a run in the third to extend their lead to 5-3. Vicente tied the game in the second with a two-run home run to left and was followed later in the inning by a Clement RBI double. Nolan Jones then doubled home Jorma Rodriguez in the third to give Lake County the 5-3 edge.
Mercedes responded with emphasis in the top of the fourth inning, as the first basemen sent a two-run shot to left field to tie the game at 5. For Mercedes, it was his first homer of the year after leading the Snappers with 16 long balls a season ago.
The Captains then took the lead in the bottom of the fourth, before the Snappers plated a pair in the top of the fifth. Mercedes drove a run-scoring base hit to right to score Farrar to tie the game, before Mickey McDonald walked with the bases loaded to plate Weber to give the Snappers a 7-6 lead.
Then defense and pitching took over, as neither team scored a run in six half innings before the Captains broke through with a pair of runs in the bottom of the eighth inning.
Prior to those runs in the eighth, Snappers reliever Mitchell Jordan pitched beautifully. As the right-hander tossed a scoreless fifth, sixth and seventh inning retiring a string of seven batters in a row before issuing his first hit of the game in the eighth.
Heath Bowers took over for Jordan, as Bowers inherited two runners. Jorma Rodriguez then hit a two-run double to center, to give the Captains an 8-7 lead.
The hot-hitting Meggs then stepped in in the top of the ninth and delivered a clutch one out run-scoring single to tie the game at 8.
The loss marked the fifth time in the last seven games where the Snappers were either tied, or held a late lead and lost.
The finale and rubber match of the three-game set is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 12:30 p.m. CST. The Snappers will send right-hander Jean Ruiz (0-0, 6.00) and the Captains will send left-hander Francisco Perez (1-1, 7.00).
The Beloit Snappers are a member of the Midwest League and have been the Single-A affiliate of the Oakland Athletics since 2013. For more ticket information, contact the Snappers office at (608) 362-2272 or on our website, www.snappersbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.