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Captains dent TinCaps 3-2

Merritt's strong outing spurs Lake County on to victory

Captains dent TinCaps 3-2
Ryan Merritt (Photo: Lianna Holub)
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EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains put a dent in the Fort Wayne TinCaps’ evening with a 3-2 victory on Saturday night.

Lefty Ryan Merritt (1-3, 3.50) received the start for Lake County to counter Fort Wayne righty Ruben Mejia (2-3, 2.70).

The Captains raked some early run support for Merritt in the first as shortstop Dorssys Paulino reached on a one-out error and scored on a single off the bat of designated hitter Richard Stock.

Left fielder Jorge Martinez added another in the second inning in the form of a triple deep to left-center. Martinez went on to score during the play on a throwing error, giving the Captains the 2-0 lead.

The TinCaps leveled the score in the fourth with triples of their own as designated hitter Jeremy Baltz and first baseman Luis Tejada  laced a pair of triples to tack on two.

Third baseman Erik Gonzalez propelled the Captains back to the lead in their half of the fifth as he doubled home first baseman Leo Castillo, who reached on a single. That was the last Lake County saw of Mejia, as he was replaced with Bryan Rodriguez, sealing Mejia’s line at five innings, allowing three runs (one earned) on five hits, one walk and a pair of strikeouts.

Merritt lasted two longer than Mejia as he was pulled for Francisco Valera in the eighth, making Merritt’s line seven innings, surrendering just two runs on seven hits while striking out seven. Valera tossed a scoreless inning before giving way to Louis Head in the ninth.

The TinCaps kept things interesting in the ninth as right fielder Corey Adamson led off with a walk. With one out, the Captains’ defense held things down for Head as catcher Eric Haase struck down Adamson attempting to steal. The defense carried over into the next play as third baseman Gabriel Quintana singled to right but was thrown out at second on a bullet from center fielder Logan Vick to end the game.

Captains’ manager Scooter Tucker noted the team’s clean defense as a leading factor in the win, but also accredited Merritt’s outing. Merritt’s outing was a vast distinction from his previous, during which he walked six batters. On Saturday, he issued no free passes.

“He continues to be pretty solid,” Tucker said. “Tonight, he came back and did exactly what we’ve seen him do nearly every start he’s had.”

Paulino, who went 1-for-4 on the night, boosted his average to .205 and has hit .313 through his last four games. He appears to be putting a better swing on the ball, something Tucker has also noticed.

“He appears to be getting closer to finding his groove,” Tucker said. “We’ve tried to move his contact point back, meaning deeper. We felt like he was a little bit steep and hitting the ball too far out in front, not giving him any margin for error.”

Saturday’s win advances the Captains to a 14-25 overall record. Next, Lake County sends Michael Peoples (1-2, 2.82) to counter TinCaps’ righty Walker Weickel (0-1, 3.76). Peoples, who is typically a long reliever, started on Tuesday, where he went four innings and allowed three runs on seven hits and one walk.

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.

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