(Eastlake, OH) - The Great Lakes Loons (1-4) pounded their way to their first win of the year on Monday night and the Lake County Captains (2-3) suffered their third straight loss. Great Lakes drilled three home runs in the series opener at Classic Park, including a pair of long balls by Carlos Rincon. The Captains fell to the Loons, 6-2.
Brendon Davis got things started two batters into the game. The Loons' shortstop hit a high fly ball that cleared the left-centerfield wall for a solo home run. Two innings later, Captains starting pitcher Juan Hillman walked Davis with one out and Rincon followed by blasting a line drive that dented the signs beyond the same left-centerfield fence. The two-run home run gave Great Lakes a 3-0 lead.
The Loons plated two more runs in the fourth. Hillman retired the first two men in the fourth, but then gave up a double to Moises Perez and Saige Jenco followed with an RBI single. Oneil Cruz singled after Jenco and Hillman walked Davis before Captains Manager Larry Day called on the bullpen. Domingo Jimenez relieved Hillman, but walked Rincon with the bases loaded to force in a run and give the Loons a 5-0 advantage.
The Captains had chances to chip away at the Loons' lead, but did not make the most of them. In the bottom of the fourth, Jorma Rodriguez and Li-Jen Chu began the inning with back-to-back singles. Two batters later, Luke Wakamatsu put Lake County on the scoreboard with a bloop single to left that scored Rodriguez. The Captains, however, stranded two runners in the inning and did not score any more runs in the frame.
Lake County had another golden opportunity in the fifth. The Captains loaded the bases with one out on a bunt single by Alexis Pantoja, an infield single by Gabriel Mejia and another single by Rodriguez. But, Loons reliever Willian Soto got Chu to bounce into an inning-ending double play and the Captains came away with nothing.
Conner Capel delivered for the Captains in the seventh. He led off the inning by belting the first home run of his professional career, trimming Great Lakes' lead to 5-2. Jose Medina then followed with a double, but the Captains again could not capitalize and Medina was ultimately stranded at third.
Great Lakes added another tally in the ninth on a solo homer by Rincon, his second of the game and fourth in the first five games of the season. That long ball cleared the left field bleachers and put the Captains away for good. Lake County rallied in the ninth with a one-out single by Capel and a double by Medina, but the pair never reached the plate and Loons reliever Tony Gonsolin nailed down the final out.
Gonsolin earned the save, allowing one run over three innings. Soto (1-0) also gave up one run in three frames and picked up the win. Loons starter A.J. Alexy pitched three hitless innings to begin the game, but did not pitch long enough to factor in the decision.
Hillman (0-1) took the loss for Lake County. He went 3.2 innings in his Captains debut and surrendered five runs on five hits. Hillman struck out six and walked four.
The Captains return to action on Tuesday night to face the Loons. First pitch is scheduled for 6:30 PM at Classic Park.
Individual game tickets for all Captains games are on sale at the Classic Park box office, online at captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Full season tickets plans, 12-, 20-, and 35-game mini ticket plans for the 2017 season are on sale now at great prices complete with several exclusive benefits. Information can be found at the Captains website www.captainsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.