(Midland, MI) - The Lake County Captains (13-23) and Great Lakes Loons (17-20) were neck-and-neck for much of Monday night's contest at Dow Diamond, but an eighth-inning clutch double by Carlos Rincon doomed Lake County. The score had been knotted at 2-2 since the second when Rincon laced a two-out, RBI double down the left field line off of Ben Krauth to put the Loons on top. That knock sent Great Lakes to a 3-2 win in the series opener.
Neither team had produced many chances since Emmanuel Tapia's RBI single in the third inning tied the score. In the bottom of the eighth, however, Errol Robinson led off with a single against Krauth, but the Captains' lefty nearly worked around the hit. Krauth got Gavin Lux to pop out and then struck out Brendon Davis. Rincon, however, worked the count to 2-2 on Krauth and ripped a double down the left field line. The ball rattled around in the corner and Robinson scored all the way from first to give Great Lakes a 3-2 lead.
The Captains and Loons battled back-and-forth in the beginning of the contest. Lake County struck first thanks to a pair of Great Lakes errors. Alexis Pantoja reached on a throwing error by the shortstop, Lux. Logan Ice nearly followed with an extra-base hit to the gap in left-centerfield, but left fielder Saige Jenco made a diving catch. Despite the web gem, the Captains still caught a break to score the run. Li-Jen Chu hit a grounder to third base and Davis spiked his throw to first, allowing Pantoja to score the first run of the ballgame.
The Loons answered with a pair of runs in the second inning, but Captains starter Aaron Civale kept the damage to a minimum. Great Lakes tallied four straight singles to begin the inning. Cody Thomas, Keibert Ruiz and Mitchell Hansen singled to load the bases with nobody out and Gage Green followed with an RBI single to tie the game at 1-1. With the bases still loaded and nobody out, Civale got Jenco to ground into a 4-6-3 double play. Ruiz scored on the twin-killing to give the Loons the lead, but when Civale got the next batter to ground out to shortstop, he was able to escape the inning with only two runs allowed.
Another Loons error in the third opened the door for the Captains to tie the score. Pantoja reached when Robinson threw wildly on a ground ball to second. After Pantoja stole second, Loons starter Leo Crawford retired the next two batters, bringing Tapia to the plate as the Captains' last chance to capitalize. Tapia hit a sharp grounder up the middle to score Pantoja with the tying run. Both teams' bats remained silent until Rincon's go-ahead double in the eighth.
Both starters pitched well, but neither took home a decision. Civale lasted six innings and allowed two runs on eight hits. The Captains' right-hander struck out seven and did not walk a batter for the third straight start.
Crawford pitched six frames for the third time in a row. The Loons' left-hander allowed just two unearned runs on five hits. Crawford struck out four Captains and did not walk a batter.
Miguel Urena earned the win for Great Lakes in relief. Urena (2-0) pitched a pair of shutout innings and allowed one hit and two walks. Angel German pitched a one-two-three ninth inning to pick up the save.
Krauth (3-1) took the loss for Lake County. The southpaw worked two innings out of the bullpen and gave up one run on two hits. He struck out four and did not issue a walk.
The Captains have dropped five straight and will take on the Loons again on Tuesday night. First pitch at Dow Diamond is slated for 7:05 PM.
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.