COMSTOCK PARK, MI - The West Michigan Whitecaps struggled to find offense and gave up three consecutive home runs in a 7-1 loss to the Great Lakes Loons Saturday night in front of 6,856 fans at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The biggest crowd of the season watched the Whitecaps register a season-low two hits on the night. The 'Caps have scored only five runs in three straight losses to Great Lakes and have lost six of their last seven games.
In the fourth game of a rare five-game series, Whitecaps starter Carlos Guzman left unexpectedly three pitches into the third inning with an unspecified injury. Drew Crosby came on in relief and gave up a bases loaded two-run single to Niko Hulsizer, providing the Loons a 2-0 lead. Meanwhile, Whitecaps hitters struggled against Great Lakes starter Andre Jackson, who allowed only a Sam McMillan infield-single through the first five frames. The Loons bats erupted in the sixth as Hulsizer, Dillon Paulson and Jacob Amaya hit back-to-back-to-back solo home runs off Crosby and increased the lead to 5-0. Hulsizer capped off a big day at the plate with an RBI-triple off 'Caps reliever Robbie Welhaf to make the score 6-0 in the seventh. Whitecaps reliever Angel Reyes entered the game in the eighth and walked four batters to force home the last run on the night for Great Lakes. West Michigan scored their lone run in the ninth inning as a Parker Meadows sacrifice fly plated Jeremiah Burks and closed out the scoring in a 7-1 defeat.
Crosby (1-1) suffered his first loss of 2019, allowing season-highs of five earned runs, seven hits, and three home runs in three innings of work as the 'Caps used five pitchers in the loss. Jackson (3-1) took the win as he faced the minimum of 18 Whitecaps hitters in six one-hit innings while striking out four. Jackson has allowed only three hits in 10.2 scoreless innings against the 'Caps in two starts this year. Jose Martinez worked three innings to pick up his third save for Great Lakes in 2019. Johnny Valente hit a double in the 'Caps ninth to extend his hitting streak to five games. West Michigan drops to a season-low seven games under .500 with a 17-24 record, while Great Lakes maintains their first place standing in the Midwest League's Eastern Division with a mark of 24-15.
The Whitecaps and Great Lakes Loons wrap up this five-game series with a Sunday matinee at 2:00 pm. Pitcher Garrett Hill starts for West Michigan against Loons righty Zach Willeman. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Mike Coleman begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 1:50 pm. Tickets are available for any Whitecaps 2019 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.