MIDLAND, Mich. – A crowd of nearly 1,300 fans gathered at Dow Diamond Tuesday night for the first full-capacity game at Dow Diamond since September 2019, as the Great Lakes Loons (12-13) fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps (15-9) by a final score of 7-5. The Whitecaps scored six runs
MIDLAND, Mich. – A crowd of nearly 1,300 fans gathered at Dow Diamond Tuesday night for the first full-capacity game at Dow Diamond since September 2019, as the Great Lakes Loons (12-13) fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps (15-9) by a final score of 7-5. The Whitecaps scored six runs on eight hits in the first inning, quickly removing Loons starter Jose Martinez after 2/3 of the first. The West Michigan win on Tuesday extends their winning streak to eight.
Andy Pages finished 2-for-5 with his sixth homerun, as well as his first triple of the season. Pages’ on-base streak climbs to 22 consecutive games, tied for a team-high with Miguel Vargas. On the third pitch of the game, Vargas got a three-run response underway in the bottom of the first with his only base hit of the game. Shortstop Leonel Valera reached game number 20 with his on-base streak after a multi-hit night, doubling in the eighth inning. As a unit, Great Lakes finished 1-for-10 with runners in scoring position.
A season-low start quickly began for righthander Jose Martinez, giving up four runs on five hits in his first five batters faced. A six-run frame ended with Loons reliever Zack Plunkett recording the final out on the tenth ‘Caps batter to the plate in the first. Great Lakes outscored West Michigan five runs to one after the first inning, but failed to overcome the early deficit. Fellow righty and reigning HAC Pitcher of the Week Beau Brieske surrendered three earned runs on four hits in his fifth WM start, striking out three. Brieske also surrendered his first walk of the season to Deacon Liput in the second.
The Whitecaps finished with 13 hits, paced by a 3-for-4 outing by catcher Dillon Dingler. Dingler was responsible for two of the five WM doubles, also knocking his second triple of the season in the first inning off Martinez. The Whitecaps walked six times as a unit, finishing 5-for-17 with runners in scoring position.
Zac Shepherd (W, 3-0) lasted 3 1/3 innings relieving Brieske, allowing one run on two hits with a pair of strikeouts. A West Michigan pitching effort required five total arms in the 7-5 Whitecaps win, with Ruben Garcia picking up the win. Great Lakes also used five pitchers Tuesday night, combining for nine strikeouts and allowing six walks.
Relieving Jose Martinez in the first, and pushing the game through the third, Zack Plunkett allowed no earned runs or walks, while striking out three. Fellow GL reliever Cole Percival continued his scoreless streak of innings-pitched with three innings Tuesday, allowing no runs on no hits. Spanning over his last three appearances, Percival hasn’t allowed an earned run in 8 2/3 innings.
Tuesday’s game took three hours and 39 minutes, with both teams combining for 12 runs on 21 hits and five errors.
Another pair of right-hander’s headlines Wednesday’s duel at Dow Diamond in Jesus Rodriguez for West Michigan up against the Loons’ Clayton Beeter. In five games this season, Rodriguez has worked in 15 1/3 innings, holding a 4.70 earned-run average. Beeter, a second-round pick in the 2020 MLB Draft, makes his seventh appearance on Wednesday. Beeter’s recent start was a scoreless inning on May 28 in Lansing, where he struck out three. Every Wednesday night is Bark in the Park Night at Dow Diamond this summer, presented by Creation Coffee. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. EDT with gates opening an hour prior. Pregame coverage for Wednesday’s contest begins on ESPN 100.9 FM at 6:35 p.m. with the Loons On-Deck Circle, Built by Three Rivers.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.