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Captains drop finale and series to Lugnuts

Captains drop finale and series to Lugnuts
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EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains dropped the finale of a four-game series on Sunday as the Lansing Lugnuts and one of the Toronto Blue Jays’ top prospects put the brakes on the Captains’ bats.
Right-hander Jake Sisco took the mound for his first start of the season to counter Lansing’s Roberto Osuno. Osuno, considered the top prospect on the current Lugnuts team, is an 18-year-old righty out of Mexico.
Osuno made quick work of the Captains in the first, and was rewarded with some run support from first baseman Balbino Fuenmayor in the second. Fuenmayor sent a shot deep over the fence in left-centerfield for his second home run in just as many days to give the Lugnuts the early 1-0 lead.
The Captains’ rebuttal came immediately in the form of a home run of a different kind. Castillo sent a ball deep into center that rolled beneath the centerfield wall, which Lugnuts’ centerfielder Ronnie Melendez assumed was stuck. Instead of waiting for a ground-rule double signal, Castillo circled the bases and the play was ruled an inside-the-park home run.
The Lugnuts continued the long ball brigade as right fielder Carlos Ramirez led off the third inning with his first home run of the season. Though the Lugnuts loaded the bases in the fourth inning, Sisco struck out shortstop Jorge Flores to record the third out and escape unscathed.
Meanwhile, Osuno dominated the Captains’ lineup through six innings, surrendering just two hits while striking out eight. Osuno was replaced with right-hander Ben White to start the seventh inning.
The Lugnuts roughed up reliever Nick Pasquale as they hit the accelerator in the seventh. Pasquale entered the game back in the sixth to replace Sisco, and he was greeted with a single to right by second baseman Kellen Sweeney to start the seventh. Ramirez followed with a walk and Sweeney advanced to third on a throwing error by catcher Eric Haase. With Lugnuts on the corners, Flores singled to right to plate Sweeney and advance Ramirez to second. Ramirez was thrown out at third on a bunt force out by Melendez, but the bases emptied when third baseman Gustavo Pierre singled to left and left fielder Jorge Martinez committed a fielding error, giving Lansing a 6-1 lead.
Two more one-out singles in the eighth ended the day for Pasquale as he was replaced with Felix Sterling, sealing Pasquale’s line at six hits, four runs (three earned), and one walk through two innings.
The Lugnuts added one more security run in their share of the ninth inning as Pierre laced a double to center and scored on another double by Fuenmayor. Sterling struck out  left fielder Chris Hawkins to impede further damage, but the Lugnuts held a 7-1 lead, which the Captains could not overcome in their half of the ninth.
Sisco’s final line posted at 5.1 innings pitched, yielding two runs on three hits – including a pair of home runs, three walks and two strikeouts. Outfielder LeVon Washington sat for his third straight game. The team is easing Washington back into an everyday playing routine as a precautionary measure to protect Washington’s hip, which he injured early last season.
Sunday’s loss moves the Captains to a 1-3 record as they board the bus to travel to Midland, Mich. to take of the Great Lakes Loons, the low-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers. Right-hander Dylan Baker will make his first start of the season for the Captains against Great Lakes’ righty Jonathan Martinez.

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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