Comstock Park, MI:
The Great Lakes Loons (32-30) pitching staff continues to shine heading down the back-stretch of the 2018 Midwest League regular season, while rolling to a second straight shutout with a 1-0 victory over the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) in front of 8,844 in a pitchers duel at a steamy Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, MI near Grand Rapids tonight.
Loons starter Gerardo Carillo (2-1, 1.43 ERA) earned his second win of the year after allowing 6-hits and 1-walk, striking out 7-batters through 7-scoreless innings, while closer Darien Nunez (SV2, 3.08 ERA) replaced Carillo to start the eighth and picked up his second save of the season after allowing just 1-hit, with 2-strikeouts to close out the final 2-innings.
West Michigan starter Chance Kirby (drafted by the Tigers in the 2018 MLB draft) was equally impressive for the Whitecaps, allowing just 3-hits, while striking out 8-batters through 7-scoreless innings.
The Loons managed to score the only run of the game on a crazy play in the eighth when catcher Gersel Pitre laced a 2-out double off Whitecaps reliever Stephen Vest, a line shot near the left field foul line at Fifth Third Ballpark.
Pitre decided to stretch his double into a triple when he saw that the ball had ricocheted off West Michigan RF Dylan Rosa's glove and rolled into foul territory, before completing the “little league home run” when Rosa's throw sailed past West Michigan infielder Luke Sherley at third base for a 1-0 Great Lakes lead in the top of the eighth inning.
Vest (3-3, 4.70 ERA) was not charged with an earned run on the play, however, he was tagged with his third loss of the season after allowing 1-hit, with 1-strikeout through 1-inning of relief, while Whitecaps closer Drew Crosby (3.86 ERA) closed out the ninth inning, allowing a walk.
Loons shortstop Jacob Amaya and Pitre each had 1-hit, while RF Romer Cuadrado finished 2 for 3 to round out the Great Lakes offensive attack tonight.
Cuadrado, who has struggled heavily from the dish this year with only 11 total multi-hit games in the first half of the MWL season; however, Cuadrado has been scorching the ball as of late with 24 hits in his last 67 at bats with a .358 batting average, including 9 multi-hit games since August 6, earlier this month.
The Loons now hold a 3-game lead on West Michigan and the Fort Wayne Tincaps (29-32) for the top eastern division spot in the MWL second half playoff race. The Loons and Whitecaps will get back at it for game-3 of this 4-game series at 2 pm right back here at Fifth Third Ballpark tomorrow afternoon.