BURLINGTON, IA - A pair of two-out homers powered the Burlington Bees to a 6-4 win over the Great Lakes Loons in the rubber game of a three-game series at Community Field in eastern Iowa on Friday night. The big blow was a three-run homer from Bees leadoff hitter Kody Eaves in the bottom of the fifth inning, snapping a 2-2 tie and proving to be the game-winning hit.
The Loons jumped on top in the top of the first inning thanks to a pair of errors committed by the Bees. After Jesmuel Valentin led off the game with a single to left, he advanced to second when a pickoff throw by Bees starter Garrett Nuss hit him and caromed away into foul territory. Later in the inning, with two outs and runners at the corners, Josmar Cordero hit a chopper to third base, but Burlington's Angel Rosa threw the ball past first base, allowing both runners to score for a 2-0 advantage.
Burlington's first two-out homer tied the game in the bottom of the second inning. Mike Fish led off the frame with a double, but was still at second with two outs when Ranyelmy Mendoza drove a ball out to left off Loons starter Scott Barlow. It was Mendoza's seventh homer of the season, but his first longball since May 24.
The Bees' tie-breaking drive in the fifth was set up when Trevor Gretzky beat out an infield single leading off the stanza and Barlow hit catcher Cambric Moye with one out to put two on base for Eaves, who lined an opposite field shot to left-center. It was his eighth home run of the season.
Great Lakes loaded the bases to start the sixth inning, but managed only one run out of the opportunity after a lineout, fielder's choice bounce out and a strikeout. Paul Hoenecke and Josmar Cordero both hit balls that were caught on the warning track with a man on in the seventh inning trailing by two.
The Loons got the potential tying run to the plate in the ninth inning. Trailing 6-3 to begin the frame, Jacob Scavuzzo lined a triple to center to lead things off and Jesmuel Valentin followed with a bloop single to left to make it a two-run game. But Bees closer Alan Busenitz struck out Alex Santana and induced a game-ending double-play ball from Joey Curletta to pick up his 14th save of the year.
Bees starter Garrett Nuss pitched into the sixth to earn the victory and improve to 5-1, allowing three runs (one earned) on four hits with three walks and season-high eight strikeouts. Barlow took the loss for the Loons, falling to 4-5 after allowing five runs on six hits in six innings of work.
The Loons now head to Illinois to begin a series with the Peoria Chiefs on Saturday night. Right-hander Zachary Bird (4-11, 4.06) will take the ball and start for Great Lakes, with fellow righty Luis Perdomo (1-1, 5.16) starting for Peoria. Game time is 8:00 p.m. EDT from Dozer Park, with coverage on ESPN 100.9 FM starting at 7:30 p.m.
The Great Lakes Loons are an eighth-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. For tickets and more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com, or call 989-837-BALL.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.