The Great Lakes Loons dropped a 1-0 decision to the Lansing Lugnuts in front of 3,693 fans at Dow Diamond Wednesday evening.
The difference in the game came in the top of the seventh inning when Lansing left fielder David Harris scored the game's only run. Lugnuts' third baseman Alex Maldonado drove in Harris for the game winning RBI off Loons reliever David Reid-Foley (2-2, 2.25 ERA), who had come in to pitch the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings.
The pitchers were the story throughout the night, but Lansing starter Justin Schafer (4-0, 1.31 ERA) was completely dominant in the shutout win, allowing just three hits, while striking out two batters through 7-innings of work. Carlos Ramirez earned his third save of the season for Lansing.
Loons ace Grant Holmes (4-1, 2.94 ERA) was impressive as well, allowing just two hits, walking four, and striking out four batters through 4- innings of work. Holmes, ranked the number-11 prospect in last years draft, was the Dodgers first-round selection out of Conway H.S. (Conway, SC) in the 2014 MLB draft.
The Loons only scoring opportunity came in the bottom of the fourth inning when Kyle Garlick reached base after being hit by a Schafer pitch. Garlick made his way to second on a Justin Chigbogu ground out, but was stranded at second when Alex Santana flied out to center field.
Infielder Jimmy Allen was the only bright spot offensively for the Loons Wednesday night. Allen went 3-for-4 from the dish with three singles. Great Lakes' DH Julian Leon chipped in with the only other hit for the Loons. After facing the Lansing pitchers for three consecutive days, Allen started waiting until later in the count, looking for something to hit.
“I was just looking for fastballs, and trying to lay off the off-speed stuff really,” said Allen. “I know the last game I played against Lansing, they threw me a lot of off-speed stuff early, so I was just kind of keeping that in the back of my mind, but at the same time, looking for a good pitch in the zone so I could put a good swing on it.”
Allen and his Loons team will have a chance to split the series at two games apiece when they host the Lugnuts tomorrow for a 7:05 pm game at Dow Diamond. He's hoping his three-hit performance will spread to his teammates so they can jump out to some early hits against their rivals from the capitol city.
“I think we are just going to have to come out with some fire,” Allen said. “We're a great hitting team, although it seems like we tend to wait until later in the game to get it going, so maybe tomorrow we can just come out in the first inning with some energy and hit the ball hard. Hitting is usually contagious, so maybe tomorrow it will work out.”