LANSING- Sunday was a forgettable afternoon for the Captains (25-24), who dropped the second game of a four-game series to the Lansing Lugnuts (35-14) 10-1.
It was a rough day for every pitcher who took the mound for Lake County, starting with Shawn Morimando (1-1, 4.50). Morimando lasted just three innings, surrendering five runs on seven hits and two walks. Only four of the runs were earned. The going was equally as tumultuous for the three Captains out of the bullpen, none of whom could escape the red-hot Lansing sticks.
Mason Radeke gave up one run in three innings after coming on for Morimando and Manuel Carmona surrendered three in just one frame of work. Even Grant Sides, the best pitcher out of the bullpen for Lake County this season, could not escape without giving up a run in the 8th. For Sides, it broke his scoreless inning streak, which had reached 19.1 innings. The single run raised his ERA to 1.21.
The Captains managed just five hits off of Lansing right-hander Jesse Hernandez (4-2, 1.99), who threw seven strong innings. He struck out seven batters, failing to retire only right fielder Jordan Smith and first baseman Jerrud Sabourin via the swing and miss.
Hernandez was tagged for just one run, which came in his final inning of work and the Lugnuts already ahead 6-0. With one out, Smith singled and was driven in on a double to right field by Sabourin, his ninth of the season. Alex Lavisky, catching for the second consecutive night, grounded a single into left field to put runners on the corners for second baseman Robel Garcia. Hernandez worked his way out of the jam by getting Garcia to ground into a 3-6-1 double play, limiting the Captains to only one run.
Sabourin was the single Lake County hitter to have any success off of the right-hander. The 22 year-old first baseman finished the afternoon 2-3, belting two doubles to right field and driving in his 16th run of the campaign.
For the second straight game, Lansing opened the scoring in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, the top of the lineup struck with three consecutive hits off Morimando. Center fielder Kenny Wilson doubled to left field and was followed by Kevin Pillar, the Lansing left fielder, scorching a ball to right field. Pillar’s rope only advanced Wilson to third base. With runners on the corners, third baseman Andy Burns continued his dominance of the Captains, looping an RBI single to left field.
Lansing tacked on a second run in the bottom of the following inning, setting the stage for Shane Opitz in the bottom of the third. With two runners in scoring position, the shortstop crushed a home run to left field. The three-run dinger was the first of Optiz’s professional career. Opitz finished the afternoon 3-5 with those three RBI and three runs scored. Pillar and second baseman Jonathon Berti matched Opitz, digging out three hits themselves. Aside for catcher Chris Schaeffer, every player in the Lansing lineup had at least one base-hit. On the day, Lansing outhit the Captains 18-6.
After a single run in the sixth, Lansing struck for three more tallies in the seventh inning. After a hit batsman, a walk, and an Opitz single loaded the bases, Berti hit an infield single to shortstop Francisco Lindor, scoring one. Wilson followed with a run scoring single to left field and Pillar tacked on the third run with a force out, bringing the score to 9-1 Lansing. The Lugnuts tacked on a final run in the bottom of the eighth off reliever Grant Sides to solidify the final tally at 10-1.
Lake County will send Felix Starling (2-3, 4.89) to the hill on Monday night, looking to rebound and achieve at least a series tie. The Lugnuts will counter with the Blue Jays’ number-seven prospect Noah Syndergaard (3-0, 3.34). The Memorial Day contest will start at 7:05 pm.
Jim is currently the co-site editor, the ATF/Carolina Mudcats/Indians/General Site Columnist, and the co-host of IPI's weekly online radio show, Smoke Signals. You can follow Jim on Twitter @Jim_IPI, or contact him via e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org.