Ejections don't derail Captains from victory
COMSTOCK PARK, MI- The Lake County Captains (24-23) used the fuel from two ejections in the first inning and a great pitching performance to win the final game of a three game series with the West Michigan Whitecaps (21-27), 7-4.
Lake County loaded the bases in the first inning off of Whitecaps’ starter Tommy Collier (2-4, 3.04 ERA) with two hits and a walk. Rightfielder Jordan Smith was called out on strikes. Smith argued the call with home plate umpire Ben Guttenberger and was ejected from the ballgame. Manager David Wallace tried to talk with Guttenberger about the calls and was ejected as well for arguing. Catcher Alex Monsalve then grounded into the inning ending double play.
Lake County scored six runs in the second inning to help starter Joe Colon (5-4, 2.93). First baseman Jerrud Sabourin singled to lead off, second baseman Robel Garcia and third baseman Leonardo Castillo coaxed back to back walks from Collier. Centerfielder Zach McPhee singled to drive in Sabourin and Garcia. Leftfielder Todd Hankins walked to load the bases. With one out, designated hitter Luigi Rodriguez scored Castillo and McPhee. Hankins scored on the throw as Rodriguez ended up at second from an error by shortstop Eugenio Suarez.
Collier’s day was ended after one out in the second inning. Nick Avila, cousin of Detroit Tigers catcher Alex Avila, entered the game. Right fielder Jordan Casas, who replaced Smith, lined a double to plate Rodriguez to end the scoring in the second inning.
Collier allowed six runs (five earned) on five hits in one and a third innings. He walked four and struck out two. Avila pitched 5.2 innings, only allowing one run on six hits. He walked one and struck out one.
West Michigan gained a run in the bottom of the inning. Catcher Curt Casali singled with one out and moved to third on a double. Third baseman Jason King drove in Casali with a sacrifice fly to right field.
Casali launched his fifth homerun of the year, a solo shot to left, in the sixth inning.
Sabourin singled to score Rodriguez off Avila in the seventh inning to make the lead 7-2 Captains.
Reliever Rob Nixon replaced Colon in the seventh inning. Colon got the win pitching six innings, allowing two runs on five hits. He walked one, hit a batter and struck out five.
Nixon allowed two runs in the eighth inning. Second baseman Brandon Loy walked and advanced to third on a Suarez double. Rightfielder Steven Moya plated Loy with a sacrifice fly. First baseman Aaron Westlake drove in Suarez with a single to left field.
Michael Torrealba pitched two shutout innings for the Whitecaps allowing three hits and three strikeouts.
Nixon allowed two runs on three hits in two innings of work. Jeff Johnson allowed a two out walk in the ninth but closed the door for his eighth save of the year.
The Captains had double digit hits for the second night in a row. They had 14 overall. Rodriguez and McPhee went 3-4 and had two RBI’s on the night. Everyone reached base at least once, except for Smith, who had one at bat due to the ejection.
The Captains will travel to Lansing, Michigan to open a four game series with the Eastern Division leading Lansing Lugnuts. First pitch is set for 7:05 PM at Cooley Law School Stadium. RHP Cody Anderson (4-2, 2.05) will face RHP Aaron Sanchez (5-0, 0.58 ERA) for the Lugnuts.
Tyler, a sports management student at Lake Erie College, can be found on Twitter @tstotsky63.