Captains drop homestand opener to Lansing

Ponticelli suffers hard luck loss

Thomas Ponticelli held the Lugnuts to three runs, two earned, over five innings on Friday, but took a tough-luck loss. (Paul DiCicco)

By Lake County Captains | June 7, 2019 11:57 PM

(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (35-25) began a seven-game homestand on Friday night with a loss to the Lansing Lugnuts (27-32). In the first game of a four-game series at Classic Park, the Captains fell, 6-4.

 

The Lugnuts were led by a stellar pitching performance from starter Sean Wymer. The right-hander lasted a season-long 6.2 innings and limited the Captains to two runs on six hits. Wymer (3-5) ultimately earned the win. He struck out two and walked two.

 

Lansing gave Wymer a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Reggie Pruitt bunted his way aboard, Gabriel Moreno followed with a single and Griffin Conine walked to load the bases. Jake Brodt came up next and hit a bouncing ball to the left side of the infield. Shortstop Tyler Freeman gathered the grounder and fired to Jose Fermin at second to force out Conine, but Pruitt scored from third with the game's first run.

 

The Lugnuts scored two more runs in the fifth, but a great defensive play by Lake County prevented Lansing from plating a third. Rafael Lantigua began the inning by pulling a double off the wall in the left field corner and moved to third when Pruitt grounded out to shortstop. The Captains played the infield slightly in and Moreno hit a high-hopper to Freeman's right, but the ball bounced off the shortstop's glove for an error and Lantigua scored.

 

Conine came up next and hit a hard cue-shot off the end of the bat toward third. The ball skipped off Jesse Berardi 's glove on the backhand side for an infield single to put men on the corners with an infield single. Brodt followed and slammed a drive over centerfielder Quentin Holmes . Moreno scored from second and Conine tried to score from first, but Holmes fired to Freeman, who relayed the ball home where Bo Naylor tagged out Conine. The Lugnuts took a 3-0 lead on the RBI double.

 

Lansing scored two more in the seventh to push its lead to 5-0. Luis Araujo relieved starter Thomas Ponticelli in the sixth and pitched a one-two-three inning, but walked Moreno with one out in the seventh and Conine followed with a double. Brodt then knocked in his third run of the game with a single that scored Moreno and Conine scored on a sacrifice fly to centerfield by Ryan Gold.

 

The Captains countered in the seventh inning with two runs of their own to pull back within three runs. The inning began with a triple to centerfield by Naylor and he came home to score on a ground out to shortstop by Ruben Cardenas . Later in the inning, Mitch Reeves worked a two-out walk and hustled to third when Berardi doubled into the left field corner. A wild pitch then scored Reeves to trim Lansing's lead to 5-2.

 

Lake County took advantage of another walk to cut its deficit to 5-3 in the eighth. Hosea Nelson worked a leadoff walk against reliever Mike Pascoe and raced all the way to third when the right-hander bounced a pick-off throw. Freeman knocked in Nelson with a ground out to third base.

 

The Lugnuts scored a pivotal insurance run in the top of the ninth. With Kyle Marman on the mound for his second inning of relief, Lansing scored a run without the benefit of a hit. Moreno reached on a fielding error by Freeman, stole second and advanced to third when the throw from Naylor sailed into centerfield. A wild pitch then brought Moreno home to give Lansing a 6-3 lead.

 

The Captains' ninth-inning rally fell just short. With Sean Rackoski on the hill, Cardenas roped the first pitch of the frame into right for a single. Rackoski got Benson and Reeves to rly out, but Berardi slammed a line drive double to right-center that scored Reeves and brought the tying run to the plate in a 6-4 game. Fermin, however, grounded out to Lantigua at second base to end the game. Rackoski was credited with his third save after allowing one run on two hits over 1.1 innings.

 

Ponticelli (2-1) took the loss. The Captains' starter pitched five innings and allowed three runs, two earned, on six hits. He struck out five and walked three.

 

The Captains take on Lansing again on Saturday night. First pitch 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.

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