Lake County Captains top Dayton Dragons behind Haase, Lugo
EASTLAKE, Ohio – The Lake County Captains (24-40) defeated the Dayton Dragons (32-30) Monday evening by a score of 5-2.
The victory gave the Captains the series win against the Dragons.
The Captains scored first with a big third inning. After left fielderTorsten Boss struck out to start the frame, shorstop Ivan Castilloreached on an infield single off of Dragon starter Sal Romano (4-5, 3.42 ERA). Logan Vick then followed Castillo with a walk. After center fielder Clint Frazier grounded into a fielder's choice that put runners on the corners with two outs, catcher Eric Haase hit his team leading eleventh home run of the season. The blast by Haase moved him into a three-way tie with Michael Ratterree and Clint Coulter of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for the Midwest League lead in home runs.
Needless to say, Captains manager Mark Budzinski has been impressed with the power his catcher has displayed this season.
"He obviously has some pop in his bat. He has worked hard at swinging at balls in the zone,” Budzinski said. “When he stays within himself and takes good swings at balls in the zone, he really does some damage".
Dayton scored its first run of the game off of Lake County starter Luis Lugo (4-4, 4.56) in the top of the fifth inning. Third baseman Tanner Rahier led off the inning with a double to left center field and advanced to third on an error by Frazier. After Lugo successfully retired the next two Dragon hitters, catcher Joe Hudson drove in Rahier with a RBI single to left.
However, the Captains responded in the bottom of the sixth inning. Nellie Rodriguez led off the inning with a double to right center field. Romano then hit Paul Hendrix to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Dorssys Paulino followed Hendrix with a RBI single to right that allowed Rodriguez to score from third. The Captains scored their final run of the inning after Romano committed a throwing error on a pickoff attempt to first base. The errant throw allowed Hendrix to score, and the Captains gained a 5-1 lead.
Lugo was pulled from the game after six innings for reliever Caleb Hamrick. Lugo, who has not lost a start since April 30, turned in one of the best starts of his professional career against the Dragons. He went six innings, gave up only three hits and one run and struck out a career-high 10 batters.
Dayton got a run back in the top of the eighth inning off of Hamrick. Dragon designated hitter Avain Rachal led off the frame with a single to center. After a passed ball by Haase, and a fielder's choice that moved Rachal to third, Rachal was able to cut the Captains' lead down to 5-2 after a wild pitch.
Although the Captains had a three run lead entering the ninth inning, Dayton did not go quietly. The Dragons first three batters of the inning all reached base off of Hamrick. Budzinski then went to his bullpen for reliever Ben Heller. Heller responded to the pressure by striking out all three batters he faced for the save.
Romano took the loss for the Dragons after he pitched five innings, gave up five runs, six hits, two walks, and struck out three.
Lake County is now set to go on a six game road trip starting Tuesday night against the first place South Bend Silver Hawks. The Captains are scheduled to send Mitch Brown (0-6, 5.00 ERA) to the hill, who is still searching for his first win of the season. The Silver Hawks will counter with Blayne Weller (3-3, 4.30 ERA).
Although the Captains have a dismal 6-23 record on the road and now must endure a difficult road trip before the All-Star break, Budzinski believes his young team will overcome its struggles away from Classic Park.
"We have been a little better on the road here of late,” Budzinski said. “I think you will see the record even out more in the second half.”