EASTLAKE, Ohio - Right-hander Stevie Berman's poke into right field scored Oneil Cruz from second base with one out in the 10th inning, and the Loons secured their first series win of the season on the strength of a 3-2 win over the Lake County Captains on a chilly Wednesday night at Classic Park.
Berman's bloop scored an unearned run. Cruz reached to open the 10th inning when Lake County second baseman Erlin Cerda committed a fielding error. It was the third Lake County error of the night and eighth in the last two games.
The Captains nearly rallied for a walk-off win, but on switch-hitter Juan De La Cruz' fly-out to the warning track in right field, the Loons managed to double up baserunner Erlin Cerda at first base. Cerda raced around second base in anticipation of a hit, but Gage Green tracked the deep drive down, and triggered a 9-4-3 double play. Three pitches later, lefty Alexis Pantoja grounded out to the mound, and right-handed reliever Vinny Santarsiero (W, 1-0) fielded his position to secure the Loons win.
Santarsiero was also charged with a blown save. With the Loons in front 2-1 in the bottom of the ninth, righty Li-Jen Chu singled to center field with two outs to score speedster Jorma Rodriguez, who left from second early with two strikes in the count.
Pitchers commanded the spotlight for much of the game. Dodgers compensatory first-rounder Jordan Sheffield, a righty from Vanderbilt, made his season debut, and mastered the Lake County lineup for four innings. Sheffield retired the first 11 batters of the ballgame before he surrendered a walk, a hit and a run. He struck out four.
Lake County starter, righty Aaron Civale, struck out 10 through 5.2 innings for the Captains, and allowed just one hit and one run as well.
Nicaraguan southpaw Leo Crawford, one of the stars of the Loons title run in September, picked up the mantle from Sheffield, and threw four scoreless innings with one hit allowed, no walks, two strikeouts and 12 straight retired Captains.
Lake County's error in the 10th inning helped make a loser out of righty Ryder Ryan, who fell to 0-1 while the Captains dropped to 3-4.
The Loons advance to 2-5, and pursue their first home victory of the season on Thursday against the Dayton Dragons. First pitch is at 6:05 p.m., with broadcast coverage commencing at 5:35 with the Loons On-Deck Circle, built by KJP Sales.
The 2016 Midwest League Champions and hosts of the 2017 MWL All-Star Game presented by GoGreat.com have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team's inception in 2007. For tickets and more information about the Great Lakes Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.