Sterling rocked by the Lugnuts, 14-7
LANSING, MI - The Lake County Captains (25-25) were lit up again by the Lansing Lugnuts (36-14) offense for the second night in the row. Lansing had 19 hits on the night, which provided plenty of fireworks for Memorial Day.
Felix Sterling (2-4, 5.90) came to Cooley Law School Stadium on Monday thinking he would move past his last outing of 12 runs in less than three innings against West Michigan. He thought wrong as Lansing scored six runs off of him in less than one inning.
Second baseman Jon Berti singled to leadoff the first inning and went to second on catcher Carlos Perez’s single. With one out, Lansing performed a double steal with Berti stealing third and Perez stealing second, and Berti scored and Perez moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Alex Monsalve. Left fielder Kevin Pillar singled to right plating Perez.
First baseman K.C. Hobson and designated hitter Kevin Patterson coaxed back to back walks to load the bases. Centerfielder Kenny Wilson scored Pillar to make it 3-0 Lansing and then third baseman Kellen Sweeney hit a fly ball to center field scoring Hobson on a sacrifice fly.
Reliever Rob Nixon replaced Sterling with two outs in the inning. A wild pitch from Nixon moved runners to second and third with two outs. Shortstop Shane Opitz drove in Patterson and Wilson with a RBI single to right field.
Sterling allowed six runs (all earned) on four hits in only two thirds of an inning and walked two batters. Over his last two outings he has allowed 18 runs in 3 innings total.
Lake County scored three runs in the second inning off of Lugnuts’ starter Noah Syndergaard. Right fielder Jordan Smith and first baseman Jerrud Sabourin had back to back singles to start the inning. Smith scored on an error by Syndergaard with Monsalve batting. Third baseman Leonardo Castillo lined a double down the right field line to score Sabourin and Monsalve.
Lansing scored four more runs off of Nixon in the third and fourth innings. Berti had a RBI single and a fielding error by Captains’ second baseman Todd Hankins. Wilson drove in Hobson with a single in the fourth.
Anthony DeSclafani (4-1, 3.23 ERA) replaced Syndergaard in the fifth inning. Syndergaard pitched four innings, allowing three runs (all unearned) on four hits. He struck out five batters.
Lake County pushed within three runs at the halfway point of the game. Three straight singles loaded the bases with no outs in the top of the fifth inning. Smith brought home Castillo and Hankins with a one out, two run double to left field. Berti had a fielding error, allowing shortstop Francisco Lindor to score.
Two hits and a walk opened the bottom of the fifth for Lansing. Pillar singled home Berti to make it 11-7 Lansing. Cole Cook replaced Nixon with one out in the inning. Cook walked Patterson with the bases loaded to score Perez.
Nixon pitched 3.2 innings, allowing six runs (four earned) on ten hits. He walked two and struck out two. Cook pitched 2.2 shutout innings, only allowing two hits and two walks. He struck out three batters.
Lake County had two ejections in the eighth inning. Left fielder Jordan Casas was ejected by base umpire John Burzynski for arguing the call on a groundout. Manager Dave Wallace was ejected for the second time this year for arguing with home plate umpire Dustin Klinghagen.
Francisco Valera pitched the eighth inning for Lake County. He allowed a leadoff double to Opitz, who scored on a Chris Hawkins single. Hobson doubled to score Perez to end the scoring at 14-7.
Valera allowed three hits and two earned runs in his one inning of work.
Lake County had nine base hits on the night. Lindor, Smith, Sabourin and Castillo all had two hits each. Hankins added the final hit for the Captains.
The four game series will conclude on Tuesday night. The Captains will send LHP Elvis Araujo (2-4, 2.60) to the mound to face LHP David Rollins (4-0, 2.64) for Lansing. First pitch from Cooley Law School Stadium is set for 7:05 PM.
Tyler, a sports management student at Lake Erie College, can be found on Twitter @tstotsky63.