Captains drop home finale 8-5
EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains dropped the final home game of their 2013 season to the Lansing Lugnuts 8-5 on Friday night.
Right-hander Luis Morel (5-5, 4.93) received the start for the Captains against Dayton righty Javier Avendano (8-6, 4.06).
Both teams struck in the second inning but the Captains snagged the 4-2 lead. The Lugnuts scored first as designated hitter Chris Hawkins and right fielder Carlos Ramirez laced a pair of consecutive singles. Shortstop Jason Leblebijian followed with another single to score Hawkins. Ramirez advanced to third on a line-out to center and scored on a sacrifice fly by centerfielder Dalton Pompey, giving the Lugnuts the 2-0 edge.
The Captains doubled the Lugnuts’ performance in their share of the inning as Nick Hamilton drew a two-out walk and took third as right fielder Jorge Martinez took first on a fielding error. First baseman Leo Castillo followed with a double to right to plate both runners and second baseman Yhoxian Medina drew another walk. Cue centerfielder LeVon Washington, who also doubled to empty the bags, giving the Captains the 4-2 lead.
The Lugnuts didn’t allow that lead to last long as they tied the game in the fourth inning. Catcher Santiago Nessy led off with a double to center and Ramirez lined a one-out single to put runners on the corners. Morel loaded the bases as he issued a walk to Leblebijian and third baseman Kellen Sweeney took advantage with a single to plate one. Pompey brought one more home with his second sacrifice fly of the evening, boosting Lansing to the 6-4 advantage.
Three runs kicked the door open for the Lugnuts in the fifth inning, which led to the end of Morel’s evening. Morel surrendered a trio of hits and a pair of walks that accumulated to two runs before he was replaced with reliever Luis DeJesus. DeJesus permitted one more to touch home as he walked in a runner for the third run of the inning.
The Captains clawed their way back as they added one more in the sixth inning. Castillo reached on a walk and Medina tapped an infield single before a throwing error by the second baseman pushed both runners into scoring position. Washington followed with a groundout to the second baseman to score Castillo, cutting the Lansing lead to 7-5.
Ramirez invested in some insurance in the ninth inning as he sent a solo shot over the left field wall to secure the 8-5 lead.
That was all the Lugnuts' bullpen needed as Ian Kadish and Arik Sikula secured the hold and save respectively. Sikula hammered the nail in the Captains’ coffin as he struck out the side in the ninth to preserve the Lugnuts with the 8-5 win.
Friday’s loss seals the Captains’ home record at 30-40 and 54-80 overall. Morel received the loss and Lansing reliever Griffin Murphy received the win.
The Captains have one more series remaining as they head to Bowling Green for a three-game series. Lefty Luis Lugo (0-0, 2.89) will start Saturday’s game against Hot Rods’ lefty Kevin Brandt (2-0, 1.42).
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.