COMSTOCK PARK – The Lake County Captains strung together sixteen hits on Wednesday to post a 7-2 win over the West Michigan Whitecaps and extend a five-game winning streak.
Left-hander Elvis Araujo (4-9, 5.23) took the mound for the Captains against West Michigan righty Marcelo Carreno (5-7, 3.42). Araujo had a tough month of July as he posted a 2-3 record and 6.95 ERA, and he struggled on Wednesday as he had trouble finding the plate.
Fortunately for Araujo, the Captains scored early in the first and never looked back. Second baseman Jose Ramirez led off the game with a single and swiped second base soon after. Ramirez advanced to third as shortstop Francisco Lindor also reached on a single. With one out, Ramirez scored on a groundout by right fielder Jordan Smith, giving the Captains the 1-0 advantage.
Lake County struck again in familiar fashion in the third inning. Ramirez led off with another single and stole second again before Lindor followed suit with a single to right. Ramirez was thrown out at the plate in an attempt to score, allowing Lindor to advance to second on the throw. A wild pitch set up Lindor at third, and the shortstop went on to score on a single by Smith.
The Whitecaps responded in the home half of the inning when first baseman Aaron Westlake drew a two-out walk and scored as right fielder Jeff MCVaney doubled to center to put West Michigan on the board.
The top part of the Captains’ line-up did it again in the fifth as Ramirez led off with a triple and scored on a Lindor single. With two outs, Lindor scored as first baseman Jerrud Sabourin singled up the middle, boosting the Captains to a 4-1 lead.
West Michigan followed again centerfielder Chad Wright walked and second baseman Brandon Loy singled to left. Both runners advanced on a sacrifice bunt and Wright scored on a groundout by Westlake, cutting the Captains’ lead in half.
Slade Smith replaced Carreno to start the sixth, ending Carenno’s evening at five innings, allowing four runs on nine hits and two walks while striking out three.
Araujo’s day was also done in the sixth when he was pulled for Manny Carmona, finalizing Araujo’s line at five innings, surrendering two runs (one earned) on five hits and five walks.
Meanwhile, the Captains continued with the hits as Jordan Smith roped his second hit of the day and singled on Sabourin’s double, bumping the Captains ahead 5-2 in the seventh.
After Carmona tossed two scoreless, the Captains jumped on Slade Smith in the eighth for two more runs. Centerfielder Luigi Rodriguez led off the inning with a double into right and moved to third on a groundout before scoring on a sacrifice fly by Sabourin. Left fielder Bryson Myles reached base as he was hit by a pitch and stole second base before scoring on a double off the bat of catcher Jake Lowery, advancing Lake County’s lead to 7-2.
That was all relievers Jeff Johnson and Francisco Valera needed as they tossed the final two innings and impeded any damage, sealing the Captains with the victory.
The Captains and Whitecaps continue their series on Thursday as Lake County turns to right-hander Cody Anderson (4-5, 3.19) to prolong their winning streak against West Michigan righty Jeff Ferrell (3-4, 5.02).
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.