(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (21-18, 61-47) snapped a three-game losing streak on Thursday night with a 5-4 win over the Lansing Lugnuts (19-20, 51-57). Zach Draper gave the Captains a solid, six-inning start, and Lake County fended off a ninth-inning threat by the Lugnuts to take game three of the four-game series at Classic Park.
Griffin Conine gave Lansing a 2-0 lead in the first inning. Gabriel Moreno singled and was on first with two outs when Conine slammed a ball over the right-centerfield wall. His 16th home run of the year and second in as many days put the Lugnuts in front.
Draper held the Lugnuts in check the rest of the way. The lefty blanked Lansing from the second through the sixth and the Lake County offense helped him out with two runs in the fourth to tie the game and two more in the sixth to put the Captains ahead.
Facing Lansing starter Eric Pardinho, Jose Fermin and Connor Smith hit back-to-back singles with one out in the fourth and an error by centerfielder Tanner Kirwer put the runners on second and third. Josh Rolette then hit a sacrifice fly to centerfield to put the Captains on the board and an RBI single by Miguel Jerez scored Smith to tie the game, though Jerez was thrown out by left fielder D.J. Neal at second to end the inning.
Lake County scored twice more in the sixth against reliever Troy Miller. Jonathan Engelmann and Clark Scolamiero began the inning with back-to-back singles and Fermin's bunt single loaded the bases. Smith bounced into a 6-4-3 double play, but that enabled Engelmann to score from third with the go-ahead run. Rolette then singled home Scolamiero to give the Captains a 4-2 lead.
The Captains tacked on an important insurance run in the seventh. Bo Naylor singled with one out and Miller walked Engelmann. Two batters later, Fermin singled in Naylor to push the Captains' lead to 5-2.
The Lugnuts threatened in the ninth and pulled within one run, thanks to a two-out long ball. Reliever Tim Herrin had pitched two scoreless innings and had retired the first two men in the ninth when Rafael Lantigua doubled and Johnny Aiello hit a two-run homer to right. Hagen Danner then singled to center and Hunter Steinmetz pinch ran, representing the tying run. Herrin then got Kirwer to line out to right for the final out, sealing the win and earning his first save of the year.
Draper (7-2) picked up the win. The lefty pitched six innings and allowed two runs on five hits with eight strikeouts and two walks.
Miller (4-6) took the loss for Lansing. He pitched two innings and surrendered three runs on seven hits with one walk and no strikeouts.
The Captains and Lugnuts wrap up their four-game series on Friday night and Lake County will go for a split. 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.