LANSING, MI - Jacob Turner earned his first professional win and the West Michigan Whitecaps salvaged a four-game series split with a 4-2 victory against the Lansing Lugnuts on Thursday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
West Michigan (18-30) also got 3.2 innings of scoreless baseball from a pair of relievers while forcing the league-leading Lansing (28-19) offense to strand 11 men on base.
Turner (1-2), the ninth overall pick in the 2009 draft, picked up his first victory in his seventh professional start just six days after his 19th birthday. The righty struck out five batters over 5.1 innings while allowing two runs on seven hits.
The Whitecaps gave him a lead in the top of the second. Jordan Lennerton, Avisail Garcia and Mike Gosse delivered three straight singles to load the bases with nobody out. Although Billy Alvino grounded into a double play that helped Lansing minimize the damage, Lennerton scored on the twin killing to put the 'Caps ahead, 1-0.
In the fourth, West Michigan added another run. After drawing a leadoff walk, Wade Gaynor used a wild pitch and a stolen base to reach third with just one out. On a 3-2 pitch, Garcia singled through a drawn-in infield to make it a 2-0 ballgame.
The Lugnuts tied the score on Balbino Fuenmayor's two-run homer in the fourth, but West Michigan recaptured the lead in the very next half inning.
With one out in the top of the fifth, Elvin Soto and Luis Palacios benefitted from eight straight balls to draw back-to-back walks. After a wild pitch moved the runners to second and third, Jamie Johnson broke the tie with a run-scoring single to right. Following a hit batsman that loaded the bases, Gaynor drove in another run with a fielder's choice groundball that pushed the lead to 4-2.
The bullpen did the rest. After Turner's departure in the sixth, Jose Ortega came in to toss 2.1 scoreless innings with five strikeouts. He gave way to Kenny Faulk, who struck out the last batter of the eighth to strand a pair of runners. He went on to retire the heart of the Lugnuts' batting lineup in order in the ninth, earning his third save of the year.
Ryan Shopshire (2-4) suffered the loss for Lansing, allowing four runs on five hits over 4.1 innings.
The Whitecaps return to Fifth Third Ballpark on Friday, May 28, to start a season-long 10-game homestand with a four-game series against the Dayton Dragons. First pitch is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. and LHP Jade Todd (0-5, 5.15) will take the mound for West Michigan against RHP J.C. Sulbaran (3-3, 5.00) of the Dragons. The game kicks off a loaded Memorial Day Weekend at Fifth Third Ballpark with The Score Night, featuring a special visit from the ZOOperstars zany entertainment act. Season, group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting whitecapsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.