MIDLAND, Mich. - With just three games remaining in their 2017 campaign, the Great Lakes Loons came out Saturday like they wanted to the end the season on a high note as they defeated the Lake County Captains 7-4 at Dow Diamond. With the victory, the Loons (32-36, 68-69) can still end the season with a winning record for the first time since 2011. But they will need to complete the sweep of Lake County (26-42, 53-84) with wins on Sunday and Monday.
Outfielder Starling Heredia had a banner night, as did the Loons offense. The 18-year-old native of Santo Domingo, Dominican Republic went 3-for-4 with two doubles and a triple. But he wasn't the only one as the Loons produced seven extra-base hits and 11 hits as a team. Stevie Berman and Moises Perez drove in four of the team's seven runs out of the 8-9 spots in the batting order.
The trio of Andre Scrubb, Aneurys Zabala (W, 1-1) and Colby Nealy (SV, 1) combined to keep Lake County lineup in check on the mound allowing four runs (three earned) on eight hits. They also had an impressive 15 strikeouts as a group, which is two shy of the team's season high of 17 against the Fort Wayne TinCaps on May 18.
The Loons jumped out to an early lead with two runs in the 3rd inning and never looked back. Perez doubled, Jeren Kendall tripled and Gavin Lux reached on a fielder's choice to make it a 2-0 advantage. After the Captains pulled a run back in the top of the 4th, Great Lakes then added three more in the bottom half when Heredia led off the frame with a triple and scored on a single from Nick Yarnall. Two batters later Perez came through yet again, this time with a two-run single scoring Yarnall and Tyler Adkison.
Perez finished the game going 2-for-4 while Cristian Santana did the same, producing his 18th multi-hit game since joining the Loons roster back on June 30.
Three players each had two hits for Lake County, including Emmanuel Tapia who gave the Captains a glimmer of hope in the 9th when he a launched a ball over 400 feet out to center field for his Midwest League-leading 28th home run of the season.
Sunday will see both teams take the field for the penultimate game of the regular season when Riley Ottesen (0-2, 4.63 ERA) will oppose Lake County's Micah Miniard (4-13, 7.46). The first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a limited edition Loons scarf.
The Great Lakes Loons are the 2016 Midwest League Champions and have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since 2007. Dow Diamond, home of the Loons, also houses ESPN 100.9-FM and the Michigan Baseball Foundation. For tickets and more information about the 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.