Lake County strands 11 in 4-1 loss to Lansing
LANSING- Lake County (29-33) was unable to come up with base hits in the clutch on Sunday afternoon, falling to the Lansing Lugnuts (43-19) by a score of 4-1.
The Captains certainly did not struggle to put runners on base, netting 11 hits and walking twice. However, the team went 1-8 with runners in scoring position and left 11 men stranded on the afternoon. Lake County did not help their cause by striking out 13 times, led by second baseman Robel Garica’s three and three other hitters striking out multiple times.
Francisco Lindor, returning to shortstop after a night off Saturday, led Lake County with three hits in the ballgame. Catcher Alex Monsalve, left fielder Todd Hankins, and right fielder Zach MacPhee all contributed two hits on the afternoon.
Joe Colon (5-6, 2.83) suffered his sixth loss of the season, despite just giving up two earned runs in five innings of work. The starter, who continues to pitch well despite a lack of run support, gave up five hits and struck out two, but was hampered by six walks.
The first of two Captains errors on the afternoon proved costly in the bottom of the first inning. Third baseman Leonardo Castillo misplayed a ground ball to open the frame, but Colon regrouped, retiring the next two in order. He was unable to finish the frame unscathed, however, giving up a walk and then an RBI single. First baseman K.C. Hobson’s 13th double of the season tacked on another run, giving the Lugnuts a 2-0 advantage.
The big blow against Lake County’s All-Star right hander was delivered in the fifth inning by designated hitter Kevin Patterson. With two outs and a runner on second, Patterson launched his fifth home run of the season to dead center field, barely clearing the 20 foot fence at Cooley Law School Stadium. The 4-0 lead proved to be more than enough for Lugnuts starter Marcus Walden (5-1, 2.48), who, with the win, improved to 5-1 on the campaign.
Walden, despite pitching just five innings, retired six Lake County hitters by way of the strikeout. The only run the Captains could manage came off of reliever Javier Avendano in the top of the seventh inning. Zach MacPhee hit his first double of the season that nearly cleared the right field fence for his second home run of the road trip, advancing Garcia, who walked, to third. Center fielder Luigi Rodriguez netted his 19th RBI when he sent a sacrifice fly to right field, scoring Garcia. Avendano escaped the jam by retiring Lindor on a swing-and-miss.
The Captains tried to climb their way back into the game with a two out rally in the top of the eighth inning. Back-to-back singles by Monsalve and Hankins put runners on first and second for Castillo. However, Avendano once again made his pitch when he needed it, striking out Castillo.
Immediately after Castillo was retired, Dave Wallace, the typically calm Lake County skipper, came storming out of the dugout. Wallace took exception to the strike zone of home plate umpire Fernando Rodriguez and let Rodriguez hear about it. Wallace was promptly ejected by the home plate umpire, marking the third time the Captains manager has been tossed this season.
Once again, the Lake County bullpen was a bright spot on an otherwise bleak afternoon. Relievers Cole Cook and Francisco Valera combined to throw three scoreless innings, retiring the side in order in each frame.
With the loss, the Captains fell to just 2-7 on the season in games played on Sunday.
Monday night’s finale with the Lugnuts, which will begin at 7:05 pm, marks the final road contest of the first half for Lake County. The Captains will send All-Star right hander Cody Anderson (4-3, 2.91) to the hill in an attempt to split the four game series. Lansing will counter with All-Star Justin Nicolino (2-0, 1.40), one of seven players the Lugnuts will send to the contest.