LANSING – The Lake County Captains snagged the first of a three-game series from the Lansing Lugnuts in an extra-inning victory on Saturday evening thanks to a hit batter and a solid bullpen.
The Captains scored first as second baseman Jose Ramirez singled to right field and swiped second for his 14th steal of the year. With one out, right fielder Jordan Smith reached on an infield single before left fielder Bryson Myles tapped into an RBI groundout to score Ramirez.
Déjà vu struck in the third inning as the Captains scored in repeat fashion when Ramirez singled to left and scored as Myles grounded to second for his second RBI of the evening, boosting the Captains to the 2-0 lead.
Meanwhile, Radeke was solid through five scoreless innings until the Lugnuts finally leveled the score on him in the sixth. Shortstop Shane Opitz reached base on a fielding error by third baseman Leonardo Castillo before catcher Aaron Munoz singled to left. Opitz scored on a throwing error by Radeke during a sacrifice bunt play that put runners on second and third. After striking out the next hitter, Radeke was replaced with Louis Head, closing Radeke’s line at 5.1 innings pitching, surrendering two unearned runs on a pair of hits while fanning five.
With the score even at two, both teams turned to their bullpens as the marathon stretched on. Head tosses 2.2 innings of scoreless ball before giving way to Manny Carmona, who also tossed a pair of zeroes across the board.
The Captains made a bid for the lead in the 11th on Lugnuts’ reliever Philip Brua as Myles and catcher Jake Lowery laced a pair of back-to-back singles before first baseman Charlie Valerio bunted into a force play that cut down Myles at third. Myles was ejected after the play and replaced with Jerrud Sabourin in left for the bottom of the inning.
Francisco Valera entered the game in the 11th to pitch for the Captains and the Lugnuts attempted to put an end to the evening. First baseman K.C. Hobson hit a one-out single to the shortstop, but was cut down in a force play at second that allowed designated hitter Kevin Patterson to reach first. Left fielder Nick Baligod followed with an infielder single to the shortstop on a close play that sent Captains’ manager David Wallace to the early showers as he was ejected from the game. The play didn’t rattle Valera though, as he grouped to strike out the final batter of the inning to douse the Lugnuts’ rally flames.
Lake County took the lead in the 13th as Sabourin led off with a single to center and advanced to third on a double off the bat of Lowery. Brua intentionally walked Valerio to load the bases before Castillo was plunked with a pitch to plate Sabourin, giving the Captains the 3-2 edge.
That was all Captains’ closer Enosil Tejeda needed for the bottom half of the inning as he recorded two fly-outs and a groundout to secure Lake County with the 3-2 win.
Next, the Captains will give the nod to lefty Elvis Araujo (7-9, 4.92) to counter Lansing right-hander Anthony DiSclafani (10-3, 3.36) on Sunday.
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.