(Dayton, OH) - After starting the 2018 season with four straight victories, the Lake County Captains (4-1) suffered their first loss of the season on Monday. On a night highlighted by the Midwest League debut of Cincinnati Reds #2 prospect Hunter Greene, the Captains fell to the Dayton Dragons (2-3), 3-2.
Greene, who was the second overall selection in last year's MLB Draft, took the mound for his Dayton debut and sported the blazing fastball that earned him notoriety as an amateur. The first three pitches out of Greene's hand read 100 MPH on the Fifth Third Field scoreboard. Despite the heat, however, the Captains were able to get to Greene early.
In the top of the first inning, Greene tallied three strikeouts, but not before the Captains grabbed an early lead. Oscar Gonzalez singled with one out and Will Benson turned around a Greene fastball for a line drive single to centerfield. With two men on and two men out, Austen Wade sliced a double into the left field corner that scored both Gonzalez and Benson to give Lake County a 2-0 lead.
The Dragons came back to tie the score in the second. Captains starter Francisco Perez walked Miles Gordon with one out and Gordon promptly stole second. Mark Kolozsvary then singled to right field and Gonzalez let the ball roll under his glove. Gordon scored from second on the error to trim the Captains' lead to 2-1. Two batters later, Narciso Crook hit a deep sacrifice fly to center that scored Kolozsvary with the tying run.
Lake County nearly regained the lead in the third, but Greene came up clutch. After Jorma Rodriguez and Gonzalez hit back-to-back singles to begin the inning, Greene uncorked a wild pitch that moved the runners to second and third with nobody out. Greene then struck out Todd Isaacs , Benson and Wade swinging to end the inning, strand the runners and keep the game tied. He would finish his night with eight strikeouts in only three innings of work.
The ballgame remained 2-2 until the sixth inning when a near-double play ball turned into a Dragons run. With Gordon on second and Kolozsvary on first, Hector Vargas hit a soft chopper to Rodriguez at second base. Rodriguez fired to shortstop Tyler Friis on the second base bag and Friis tried to quickly turn two. The shortstop, however, lost the handle on the transfer and the ball rolled away. Gordon hustled to score the go-ahead run all the way from second.
The Captains had two chances to tie the score down the stretch, but came up empty. In the seventh, a two-out error put runners on second and third for Gonzalez, but reliever Austin Orweiler got him to ground out to shortstop. The next inning, Isaacs was on second base with two outs and Friis hit a line drive shot to the gap in right-centerfield. Friis' liner looked destined for the alley, but Stuart Fairchild raced over and tracked it down to end the inning. Sarkis Ohanian struck out the side in the ninth for Dayton to end the game and nail down his first save of the year.
Orweiler (1-1) earned the win for Dayton. The right-hander pitched four innings of relief and did not surrender a run. Orweiler gave up one hit, walked two and struck out one.
Felix Tati took the loss for Lake County. Tati (0-1) pitched three innings and gave up one run on three hits. He walked one and struck out five.
The Captains will take on Dayton again on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field. The second game of this four-game series is scheduled to begin at 7:00 p.m.
Information about Classic Park or the Captains can be found online at www.captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Affordable ticket packages and group party and picnic options are available now.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.