Great Lakes catcher Keibert Ruiz timed his first ever Midwest League home run perfectly.
The 18 year old from Valencia, Venezuela belted a Grand Slam Home Run in the top of the ninth to break a 0-0 tie, leading the Loons (40-36 overall, 4-3 second half) to a 4-0 win over the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) in front of 3,057 fans attending a matinee day game at Classic Park in East Lake, OH this afternoon.
With the game tied 0-0 in the top of the ninth, Lake County reliever Jacob Lee (0-1, 6.75 ERA) walked Loons center fielder Brayan Morales, shortstop Gavin Lux, and right fielder Cody Thomas to load the bases with no outs, before getting the hook in favor of Captains' closer Ryder Ryan.
Ruiz (2) proceeded to take Ryan's 1-0 fastball and deposit it over the right-center field wall at Classic Park for a Grand Slam Home Run (his first of the season) and a 4-0 Loons lead.
Lee (0-1, 6.75 ERA) was charged with the loss for Lake County after giving up the first 3-runs of Ruiz' grand slam on 3-walks, while striking out 1-batter through 1-inning, while Ryan (2.48 ERA) was charged with 1-run on 1 hit, while striking out 1-batter through 1-inning as well.
Lake County starter Juan Hillman (3-3, 5.60 ERA) had unbelievable stuff, throwing a perfect game through 5 2/3 innings before walking Loons second baseman Gersel Pitre in the sixth, and a no-hitter through 6 1/3 innings before yielding a double to Thomas in the seventh.
Hillman (3-3, 5.60 ERA) would give up the 1-hit to Thomas and 2-walks, while striking out 8 Great Lakes batters through 7 scoreless innings today.
Loons starter A.J. Alexy (1-2, 2.70 ERA) had another great outing, giving up just 2-hits and 3-walks, while striking out 6-batters through 5-innings this afternoon.
Great Lakes reliever Sven Schuller (1.53 ERA) gave up a hit and a walk, while striking out 1-batter through 2-innings of relief.
Loons closer Andre Scrubb (3-0, 1.27 ERA) also gave up just a hit and a walk, while striking out 3-batters through 2-innings to earn his third win of the season.
The Loons, who only had 2-hits today, are now averaging just 6-hits per game through the first 7-games of the second half of the 2017 MWL season.
They will try to get the bats going in an attempt to split this four game series against Lake County at 7 pm tomorrow night, before returning for a 4-game home series Fri-Mon against the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) at Dow Diamond this weekend.