(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (36-26) picked up a crucial win over the Lansing Lugnuts (28-33) on Sunday afternoon at Classic Park. After losing the first two games of the series, the Captains defeated Lansing, 5-2. The win keeps the Captains tied with the Bowling Green Hot Rods for the Wild Card* with seven games left in the first half.
*At the time of publication Bowling Green had won game one of a doubleheader with the West Michigan Whitecaps. A Hot Rods win in game two would put Bowling Green in the lead by a ½ game for the Wild Card, while a West Michigan win would give the Captains a ½ game lead over the Hot Rods.
Luis Oviedo pitched a gem over five innings and earned the win. The right-hander held Lansing to one run on just four hits. Oviedo (6-2) struck out one and walked two, en route to a victory that draws him even for the league lead in victories.
Mitch Reeves provided Oviedo with support in the second inning. With two outs and the game still scoreless, Reeves hammered a pitch from Lugnuts starter Josh Winckowski over the centerfield wall for a solo homer to give the Captains a 1-0 lead. The long ball broke a 14-inning scoreless streak by Winckowski.
Lake County added three more runs in the third. Quentin Holmes started the rally by dunking a leadoff double down the right field line and he advanced to third on a wild pitch. With the infield drawn in, Hosea Nelson chopped a grounder over the head of first baseman Jake Brodt and into right field to score Holmes. Jose Fermin then worked a walk and stole second. After Winckowski retired the next two batters, Ruben Cardenas walked to load the bases. The Lugnuts shifted Josh Rolette to pull, but the left-handed hitter went the other way, shooting a grounder through the left side of the infield for a two-run single that scored Nelson and Fermin to extend the Captains' lead to 4-0.
Lansing scratched across its first run of the game in the fourth. Rafael Lantigua doubled with one out and came home to score on a single by D.J. Neal. Oviedo escaped further trouble with a ground out and a fly out, ultimately stranding Neal on third.
Lefty Skylar Arias pitched two perfect innings out of the Captains' bullpen in the sixth and seventh, but Lansing rallied against another southpaw, Kellen Rholl , in the eighth. Nick Podkul worked a walk, Brodt struck out and Gabriel Moreno hit a grounder to third. Daniel Schneemann threw to Fermin at second to force out Podkul, but Fermin's relay to first was low and skipped past Reeves, allowing Moreno to take second. Rholl then hit Ryan Gold with a pitch and Lantigua singled to score Moreno. Rholl walked Neal to load the bases, but struck out Jesus Severino to lead the bags full and keep the Captains in front, 4-2.
The Captains grabbed one more insurance run in the eighth. Rolette led off with a walk against right-hander Will McAffer and Reeves followed with a double into the left field corner that put two men into scoring position. After Schneemann walked to load the bases, Holmes lifted a sacrifice fly down the left field line that plated Rolette to give the Captains a 5-2 lead.
Rholl pitched a one-two-three ninth to earn his second save of the year. The lefty pitched two innings and surrendered one run on one hit with two walks, one hit-batsman and three strikeouts.
Winckowski (6-3) suffered the loss. The right-hander pitched five innings and allowed four runs on five hits. He tied a season-high with eight strikeouts and walked three.
The Captains snapped a mini two-game losing skid and will try to split the series with Lansing on Monday night. First pitch for the series finale at Classic Park is scheduled for 7:00 p.m.
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). Mini ticket plans for the 2019 season are still available for 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.