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Late Loons Offense Supports Another Excellent Pitching Night

Sixth-inning Valera homer puts Great Lakes in front for good
May 6, 2022

MIDLAND, Mich. – In the top of the third inning Friday night at Dow Diamond, the Beloit Sky Carp had the bases loaded with nobody out. The Great Lakes Loons opted to keep their infield back, content to cede a run if it meant turning two, trusting that their offense

MIDLAND, Mich. – In the top of the third inning Friday night at Dow Diamond, the Beloit Sky Carp had the bases loaded with nobody out. The Great Lakes Loons opted to keep their infield back, content to cede a run if it meant turning two, trusting that their offense would come through later in the game.

The Loons did turn two and Beloit got out to an early lead. But the Great Lakes offense did, in fact, come through.

Great Lakes scored two runs in the sixth inning and three in the eighth and their pitching staff shined again, defeating Beloit, 5-2, and moving above the .500 mark for the first time this season.

Beloit (8-17) loaded the bases in the third inning on a leadoff single from Ynmanol Marinez, then a double from Marcus Chiu and a Nasim Nunez walk. The Loons’ strategy to focus on the double play paid off, as Cody Morissette hit a tailor-made ball to Jorbit Vivas at second base. Marinez scored, but that’s all the visitors would muster in that frame.

That run was the lone blemish against Cole Percival’s start. The Great Lakes righty tossed five innings of four-hit baseball, allowing a pair of walks and one run while striking out three. Percival is just the second starter to toss five innings in a game this year. He stayed in the game long enough to qualify for the win, but the bats didn’t come through with run support until after he was out of the game.

The Loons (13-12) scored for the first time in the sixth inning. With two outs in the inning, Ryan January got aboard with a single to extend the inning for Leonel Valera. The wind all night was blowing stiffly in from left field, so Valera blasted a longball the opposite way instead. His fourth home run of the season, a two-run shot, put the Loons in front for the first time, 2-1, and they would never trail after that.

Great Lakes, the High-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, got in the lead after a scoreless inning of relief work from Adam Scoggins (W, 1-1). The southpaw did not allow a baserunner in his one frame of work, and struck out two. Carlos Alejo tossed a perfect frame as well, picking up one strikeout.

The bats would come alive again in the eighth inning. Eddys Leonard led off the frame with a single, followed by a Vivas walk. January grounded out but advanced both runners, then Valera got his third RBI of the night with a single. Ismael Alcantara followed that up with another RBI single, and a third run in the inning scored on a throwing error in the frame. At that point, the Loons took a 5-1 lead.

Beloit, the Miami Marlins’ partner, got one more run in the ninth inning on a Tanner Allen longball, but that was the lone hit allowed by Loons lefty Jacob Cantleberry (SV, 1) in his two innings of work. He walked a pair, but struck out two as well, to earn his first save in his first such opportunity.

The Loons have now won three consecutive games for the second time in as many weeks, and hold a 3-1 lead in this series with the Sky Carp, the only time these two teams will meet this year. Dow Diamond hosts game five of the series Saturday night at 6:05 p.m. as Great Lakes looks to win the series a day early. Right-hander Evan Fitterer (0-1, 6.00 ERA) gets the start for Beloit, opposing fellow righty Kendall Williams (0-1, 15.00 ERA) for the Loons. Tickets are still available on Loons.com. Pregame coverage begins at 5:50 p.m. on ESPN 100.9-FM with the Loons On-Deck Circle, driven by Garber Chevrolet Midland.

The Great Lakes Loons have been a 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.