(Eastlake, OH) - Zach Draper spun seven scoreless innings to lead the Lake County Captains (16-13, 56-42) to a shutout victory over the Peoria Chiefs (6-23, 36-62) on Sunday afternoon at Classic Park. Draper, Skylar Arias and Brendan Meyer baffled the Chiefs' offense, en route to a 7-0 Lake County win.
Draper (6-2) earned the win, holding the Chiefs off the scoreboard over a career-high seven frames. The southpaw scattered three hits, struck out five, walked three and hit one batter. Lake County's defense helped Draper, as well. The Captains turned two double plays behind the lefty, both erasing leadoff baserunners, and Cody Farhat threw Brendan Donovan out at home to end the third after a ground ball leaked through Jose Fermin 's legs at shortstop.
Chiefs starter Parker Kelly was equally vexing over five innings. In his first career start, the right-hander who had previously been a reliever both in college and at the start of his pro career, blanked the Captains and held them to just two hits. He struck out five and walked one. It was not until the sixth, when the Chiefs went to their bullpen, that the Captains drew first blood.
Right-hander Rodard Avelino relieved Kelly in the sixth. After getting Eric Rodriguez to sky out to right to begin the inning, he walked Quentin Holmes . Bo Naylor then made Avelino pay, yanking a double into the right field corner to bring Holmes to the dish. Avelino followed with back-to-back walks to Fermin and Ruben Cardenas , followed by a third walk to Daniel Schneemann , which brought home Naylor to give the Captains a 2-0 lead. Lefty Eli Kraus then replaced Avelino, but he immediately hit Connor Smith with the bags juiced, and Fermin scored. Two batters later, Miguel Jerez poked a two-run single into centerfield to complete the five-run inning. The Captains needed just two hits because of four walks and one hit-batsman.
Cardenas connected to add to the Captains' lead in the seventh. After Holmes roped a leadoff double, Avelino retired the next two hitters, but Cardenas turned around a 1-1 pitch and belted a two-out, two-run homer into the left field bleachers. Cardenas' 10th bomb of the year gave Lake County a 7-0 lead.
Arias worked out of trouble to toss a scoreless eighth. Donovan led off with a double on a fly ball to right that Cardenas lost in the sun and Edwin Figuera followed with an infield single on a bouncer to third. After Arias walked Brady Whalen to load the bases, the lefty induced three meek pop ups to shallow right, two that were caught by Schneemann, the second baseman, and two that were caught by Cardenas.
The Captains' defense helped Meyer close out the game in the ninth. Fermin made a diving backhand catch at shortstop to rob Brandon Benson for the first out. After Brandon Riley singled, Josh Shaw bounced into a game-ending 5-4-3 double play.
Avelino (0-2) took the loss for the Chiefs. The right-hander lasted 1/3 of an inning, but was responsible for five runs on one hit with four walks and no strikeouts.
The Captains and Chiefs play the rubber game of their three-game series on Monday night at Classic Park. First pitch 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.