The Great Lakes Loons (60-62) took 3 of 4 to win the 4-game series with an 8-1 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) in front of 4,555 at Dow Diamond tonight.
Loons center fielder Jeren Kendall (ranked the No. 4 prospect in the Dodgers' organization by MLB.com after he was drafted in the first round of the 2017 MLB draft out of Vanderbilt) went from the lead off spot to hitting third tonight, and the change paid off as he sparked the Loons' offense, going 2 for 3 with 2-walks, 2-RBI's, and 1-run scored.
“It was a little bit of a change, I've been batting lead off for most of my time in pro ball,” Kendall said. “It was a little different for me, but in college I was batting 2 or 3 in my sophomore and junior year, so honestly, (hitting in) that position is nothing new, you just have to get used to batting with runners on base.”
Kendall adjusted nicely, while trailing 1-0 in the bottom of the fourth, Loons DH Cody Thomas, and shortstop Gavin Lux led off with back to back singles, when Kenadall drove in Thomas with an RBI-single of his own, while Lux also scored on a throwing error by the Lansing right fielder, allowing the speedy Kendall to advance to third base for a 2-1 Loons lead with only 1-out in the inning.
The Loons then added a third run when second baseman Jared Walker drove in Kendall with a sac fly RBI for a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the fourth.
Great Lakes added another run early in the bottom of the fifth when first baseman Nick Yarnall smoked a line-shot missile off the right field wall for a lead-off triple, and left fielder Saige Jenco reached on a 1-out walk, while Yarnall was drvien in on an RBI-single off the bat of Thomas for a 4-1 lead with 1-out.
Lux then grounded Thomas into a force out at second, but managed to advance to second on a throwing error by the Lansing shortstop, allowing Jenco to score for a 5-1 Loons lead after five innings of play.
Last night's offensive leader for the Loons, right fielder Tyler Adkison was driven in on an RBI-single by third baseman Brock Carpenter to take a 6-1 lead in the bottom of the sixth.
Great Lakes starter Leo Crawford (7-10, 4.61 ERA) put together a very nice start to earn his seventh win of the season after giving up 1-run on 5-hits and 2-walks, while striking out 3-batters through 7 1/3 innings.
Lansing reliever Connor Eller walked Jenco, Thomas and Lux to load the bases with no outs in the bottom of the seventh, then walked Kendall which brought in Jenco for a 7-1 lead, before Adkison drove in Thomas on a sac fly RBI for an 8-1 lead.
Recently promoted Loons reliever James Carter (who came to the Dodgers in the Tony Watson trade as Angel German and Oneil Cruz went to the Pirates) replaced Crawford and looked just as dominant, allowing just 1-hit, while striking out 2-batters to close out the final 1 2/3 innings.
Kendall's 2 for 3 night led the Loons, while Thomas went 2 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and 2-runs scored, as every other Loon batter, with the exception of Adkison, had 1-hit tonight. Adkison, who was 0 for 2, did have 2-walks, an RBI, and 1-run scored.
The Loons will now head out for a 4-day road trip (Fri-Mon) against the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego Padres) before returning home for 6-games against Lansing and the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds) Tue-Mon) next week.