COMSTOCK PARK, MI – Beginning the final two-week period of the 2021 regular season, the Great Lakes Loons (60-49) won their third-consecutive game with a franchise record-tying 18 runs Tuesday night at Comstock Park against the West Michigan Whitecaps (53-58), 18-7. The Loons haven’t lost once in their last five
COMSTOCK PARK, MI – Beginning the final two-week period of the 2021 regular season, the Great Lakes Loons (60-49) won their third-consecutive game with a franchise record-tying 18 runs Tuesday night at Comstock Park against the West Michigan Whitecaps (53-58), 18-7. The Loons haven’t lost once in their last five Tuesday contests.
Great Lakes exploded with three different five-run innings, scoring three in the top of the seventh to tie the franchise mark of 18 runs in a single game set by the 2009 Loons on August 20 against the South Bend Cubs. Tuesday night’s 18 runs tops the season record of 17 scored on August 24 in Eastlake, OH when the Loons slugged six HRs against Lake County.
Right-handed starter Gavin Stone played his part, providing seven strikeouts in four scoreless and hitless innings, allowing just one walk. Defensively, Great Lakes allowed no runs through six innings and led 18-1 into the bottom of the ninth.
Kevin Malisheski (W, 4-0) relieved Stone in the fifth with consecutive strikeouts before exiting with an apparent hand injury. Quickly needed out of the bullpen, Jose Rodulfo provided the Loons two innings of work, allowing one run on a pair of hits.
The Loons shipped ten batters to the plate in the second inning for their first five-run frame of three. A pair of doubles from Joe Vranesh and Jonny DeLuca doubles would begin the night’s scoring. Doubles were a bit of a trend for the Loons’ offense, finishing with six to tie a team season-high.
With two outs, Andy Pages scored two with his first hit of a four-hit night. It’s the eighth time this season a Loon has recorded four hits in a single game, but the first for the 20-year-old Pages, who leads the league in home runs, OPS, extra-base hits and runs, and second in total bases, walks drawn, hits, runs batted in, and on-base percentage.
With a 3-for-4 night, Leonel Valera busted out of a sluggish stretch set in August that saw a .145 batting average in 21 games. Valera failed to reach in the fifth inning on a fielder’s choice as his only time retired in five at-bats in Tuesday’s win, recording a game-high eight total bases with a pair of doubles and his 16th HR of the year.
Jorbit Vivas continued an on-base streak that dates back to his first game with Great Lakes on August 25 with a 2-for-4 night, picking up his first Loons longball in the ninth inning. The on-base streak for Vivas climbs to 23, a stretch that started with Low-A Rancho Cucamonga on August 11. Vivas is 11-for-27 in six games with Great Lakes to begin the month of September, boasting a .407 batting average.
Deacon Liput broadened his horizons with a 3-for-4 night as he crossed the plate three times and also made his season debut on the mound for Great Lakes, allowing two runs on four hits before recording the final out of the ninth inning.
Eddys Leonard knocked a three-run blast in the fourth inning off Whitecaps newly inserted Jared Tobey in what was the left-hander’s first HR allowed in his 30th game of the season. Tobey entered Tuesday with a team-best 1.87 earned-run average in 43 1/3 innings pitched before Leonard took him deep as his first batter faced.
In concert with a Cedar Rapids loss against Wisconsin, the Loons move into sole possession of the final playoff spot remaining in the High-A Central’s two-team playoff picture. Also drawing from the Kernels loss in Wisconsin, Quad Cities (70-37) clinched a bid to the post-season with a 6-4 loss to Peoria.
This pivotal road series against West Michigan continues Wednesday night at LMCU Ballpark, with pregame coverage beginning on ESPN 100.9 FM with the Loons On-Deck Circle, Built by Three Rivers, at 6:35 P.M. EDT. First pitch from Comstock Park is penciled for 7:05 as Great Lakes righty Hyun-il Choi (6G, 26.2 IP, 4.05 ERA) takes on West Michigan’s newest pitcher, Jack O’Loughlin (3G, 9.1 IP, 4.82 ERA).
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.