(Appleton, WI) - The Lake County Captains (19-13) did not light up the hit column on Thursday night, but they did not need to. Lake County scored five runs in the sixth inning without the benefit of a hit and came away with their fifth consecutive victory as a result. The Captains opened their three game series against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (13-18) with a 6-3 win at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
Timber Rattlers starter Logan Gillaspie held the Captains in check over five innings, but Lake County drew first blood against the right-hander in the opening frame. Bo Naylor led off with a single and Gillaspie hit Tyler Freeman with a pitch. Two batters later, Mitch Reeves socked a double to left-center that brought home Naylor with the game's first run.
Gillaspie was making his first start in affiliated baseball after playing for four different independent league teams in two years and signing with the Milwaukee Brewers last summer. The right-hander had worked entirely in relief for Brewers affiliates until Thursday, but held Lake County to one run in five innings to keep the Timber Rattlers in the ballgame. In the bottom of the fifth, his offense picked him up.
The Captains carried their 1-0 lead into the fifth, thanks to four scoreless frames by Cody Morris . The zeroes for Wisconsin gave the Captains' pitching staff 21 straight shutout innings, dating back to Monday, but the Timber Rattlers scored a pair in the fifth to take the lead. Je'von Ward led off with a single and reached second on a passed ball, but was soon cut down at third. Gabriel Garcia hit a grounder to the shortstop hole and Ward took off for third. Freeman threw to third baseman Daniel Schneemann for the tag out. Antonio Pinero then roped a triple to right-center, scoring Garcia from first to tie the game. Brice Turang came up next and hit a dribbler to the first base side of the mound for an RBI ground out, as Pinero came home to give the Timber Rattlers a 2-1 advantage.
Gillaspie exited in the sixth and right-hander Yohandry Perez came in from the Wisconsin bullpen. The reliever walked Quentin Holmes with one out and Holmes stole second. With two outs, Hosea Nelson hit a chopper to first base and hustled down the line as Garcia fielded the ball and flipped to Perez covering first. The pitcher, however, dropped the toss and Holmes scored from second to tie the game.
Perez then walked Connor Smith and Justin Bullock came in from the bullpen. Bullock, however, had trouble finding the strike zone, and walked three straight batters. He walked Naylor to load the bases and then issued free passes to Freeman and Benson to give the Captains a 4-2 lead. Bullock exited due to apparent injury after the three consecutive walks and reliever Peter Strzelecki fared no better. The right-hander walked Reeves to force home Naylor and make it 5-2. A wild pitch then scored Freeman to give the Captains a 6-2 lead. When Strzelecki recorded the final out on a pop up, the Captains had scored five runs on no hits, six walks and one Timber Rattlers error. There were five consecutive walks in the inning.
Wisconsin threatened in the eighth inning, but could only muster one run against Aaron Pinto . David Fry led off with a double to left and, after Pinto fanned Chad McClanahan for the first out, LG Castillo and Ward both singled. Pinto then struck out Garcia, but Pinero hit a grounder up the middle that hit base umpire Steven Rios, Jr. The ball was ruled dead and Pinero was awarded with an RBI single, as Fry scored to cut the Captains' lead to 6-3. Luis Araujo then came in and struck out Turang with the bases loaded to end the threat and leave the tying run on first base. Araujo set the side down in order in the ninth, including two more strikeouts, to record his first save.
Lefty reliever Eli Lingos picked up the win. Lingos (1-0) pitched 1.1 innings without allowing a run, a hit or a walk. He struck out four.
Perez (0-1) suffered the loss and a blown save. He allowed three unearned runs over 2/3 of an inning. Perez did not allow a hit, but walked two. The right-hander recorded one strikeout.
The Captains are on a season-high five-game winning streak and will go for a sixth straight win and another series victory on Friday night against Wisconsin. First pitch at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium is scheduled for 7:35 p.m. ET.
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.