(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (10-6, 50-35) suffered an 8-1 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts (8-8, 40-45) on Saturday, in the first game of a three-game series at Classic Park. Lansing's offense exploded for five runs in the third to help decide the game.
The Lugnuts opened the scoring in the first with a solo homer by Griffin Conine and added another run in the second inning without the benefit of a hit. Captains starter Juan Mota hit Hunter Steinmetz with two outs. Steinmetz stole second and advanced to third when Bo Naylor 's throw skipped into centerfield. Third baseman Makesiondon Kelkboom then made a fielding error on a grounder by D.J. Neal, allowing Steinmetz to score.
The Captains plated their only run in the bottom of the second. Ruben Cardenas worked a one out walk and, two batters later, Jonathan Engelmann singled. Engelmann moved to second on the throw in from the outfield and Daniel Schneemann knocked in Cardenas with a ground out to shortstop, trimming Lansing's lead to 2-1.
Lansing took control of the game in the third. The first seven men reached base and Mota was pulled without recording an out. Gabriel Moreno singled, Conine walked, Ryan Gold hit an RBI double and Johnny Aiello hit a three-run homer. Rafael Lantigua, Hagen Danner and Steinmetz followed with three straight singles to load the bases. Kyle Marman then came in from the bullpen and stopped the bleeding. He entered with the bags full and nobody out, but allowed just one run to score on a fielder's choice off the bat of Neal. The five-run inning saw 10 men come to the plate for Lansing. The Lugnuts tallied six hits and two walks in the frame.
The Captains' bullpen nearly held the Lugnuts' bats silent the rest of the way. Marman retired 10 straight hitters between the end of the third and his final out in the sixth. Manuel Alvarez continued the streak by setting down the first five men he faced. Steinmetz ended the streak of 15 straight outs with a solo homer with two outs in the eighth.
Lugnuts starter Troy Watson earned the win. Watson (3-2) pitched six innings and allowed just one run on four hits He struck out four and walked one.
Mota (2-6) took the loss. The right-hander pitched two innings and surrendered seven runs, six earned, on nine hits. Mota struck out one, walked one batter and hit one batter.
The Captains take on the Lugnuts again on Sunday afternoon in game two of the three-game series. First pitch is scheduled for 4:00 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.