(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (26-41, 53-83) sent their fans home happy with a victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (26-41, 63-70) in the final home game of the 2017 season. Brady Aiken pitched five strong innings and Miguel Eladio dealt the key offensive blow for Lake County in a 3-2 win on Friday night at Classic Park.
Aiken held the Lansing bats in his final start of the year. The southpaw tossed five innings and allowed one run on three hits. Aiken worked into some trouble with six walks, but also struck out six and was able to work around danger more often than not. The only run he surrendered came in the third when the Lugnuts successfully pulled off a double steal. Rodrigo Orozco swiped second base and, when the throw by catcher Li-Jen Chu went to second, Nick Sinay raced home.
The Captains' offense supported Aiken's strong start with a pair of runs. Chu and Jose Vicente gave the Captains the first run of the ballgame in the bottom of the second inning. Chu led off with a single and later moved to second on a wild pitch. Vicente then roped a line drive to centerfield. Joshua Palacios raced back and reached up, but the ball tipped off his glove and rolled to the wall. Chu scored and Vicente landed on second with a double to give Lake County a 1-0 lead.
After Lansing's third-inning double steal tied the game, Chu put the Captains back in front in the fourth. Leading off against Lansing starter Juliandry Higuera, Chu smacked a line drive that narrowly cleared the right field wall for a solo home run. Chu's 17th home run and second long ball in as many days gave the Captains a 2-1 advantage.
Aiken worked around a three-walk fifth inning to keep the lead in tact before he exited the ballgame. The lefty walked Sinay to begin the inning. Sinay stole second, but then got greedy and tried to nab third. Chu threw a bullet to third and Sinay was dead meat. The Captains caught him in a rundown for the first out. Aiken then struck out Orozco, but walked Palacios and Nash Knight back-to-back. With two on and two outs, Aiken struck out David Jacob to end the inning and his season, preserving a 2-1 lead.
The Captains' slim lead held until the seventh when Lansing tied the score, once again thanks to a Sinay walk. Alsis Herrera , who came in to relieve Aiken in the sixth, walked Sinay with one out in the seventh. Two batters later, Palacios ripped a line drive that touched down in left field. Trenton Brooks took a sharp angle, running toward the line, and tried to cut off the bouncing ball, but his diving attempt missed and the ball skipped to the fence. Sinay scored the tying run and Palacios coasted into second with a double.
Lake County found an unlikely hero in the seventh inning when Eladio stepped to the plate against lefty reliever Jake Fishman. Eladio had not homered since July 1 and stepped to the plate with nobody on base and two outs. On the first pitch of the at-bat, Eladio drilled a solo shot to left field, propelling the Captains to a 3-2 lead.
Herrera pitched a scoreless eighth and handed the ball off to Dalbert Siri in the ninth. The right-hander set the Lugnuts down in order and did all the work himself. Siri struck out Ridge Smith, then got Luis Silva to hit a broken-bat pop up back to the mound. Sinay then came up with two outs and tried to bunt for a hit, but rolled the ball back to Siri who threw to first for the final out, sealing a 3-2 win and notching his 13th save in the process.
Herrera (5-2) picked up the victory for the Captains. The southpaw pitched three innings and allowed one run on one hit. Herrera struck out three and walked one.
Fishman (0-1) suffered the loss for Lansing. He pitched just two innings and gave up one run on three hits. Fishman did not walk a batter and struck out three.
The Captains hit the road for a three-game series against the Great Lakes Loons to wrap up the 2017 season. First pitch on Saturday is scheduled for 7:05 PM at Dow Diamond.
Information about Classic Park or the Captains can be found online at www.captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). The Captains front office can be reached at 440-975-8085.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.