An unfortunate error in the top half of the eighth inning led to a Great Lakes Loons 3-2 loss to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) in front of 2,861 fans at Dow Diamond tonight.
Protecting a 2-1 lead, Loons reliever Vinny Santarsiero was on his way to getting out of the eighth inning after relenting a 1-out single to Jake Robson and forcing West Michigan first baseman Josh Lester to pop-up a foul ball for the second out of the inning, until a routine grounder went right through legs of Great Lakes shortstop Gavin Lux (a very rare error for the Dodgers top prospect, first round pick from the 2016 MLB draft) to give the Whitecaps runners at first and third with two outs.
Following a Loons pitching change, Whitecaps second baseman Anthony Pereira ripped a 2-out 2-RBI double off Great Lakes reliever Angel German to score both runners for a 3-2 lead midway through the eighth inning, which would turn out to be the difference in the game.
Santarsiero (3-1, 1.72 ERA) was charged with his first loss of the season after giving up the two runs (both of which were unearned due to the Lux error) on 2-hits while striking out 1-batter through 2.2 innings.
German (BS,1) a 6-foot-4 reliever from Bani, Dominican Republic who routinely hits 101-mph on the radar gun, hasn't allowed a single run on just 9-hits, while striking out 24-batters this season, tonight however, he was charged with his first blown save after allowing 2-hits while striking out 3-batters through 1.1 innings.
The Loons had jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning when center fielder Saige Jenco reached on a 1-out single before he was driven in on a 2-run home run off the bat of second baseman Errol Robinson (3) who went 'opposite-field' for his third Dinger of the season, taking a direct route on a line-shot over the right field wall at Dow Diamond.
The Whitecaps answered with a run in the fourth after loading the bases on back to back singles from Robson and Lester, followed by a walk to third baseman Chad Sedio before Great Lakes starter Leo Crawford was called for a balk while facing West Michigan catcher Austin Athmann, allowing Robson to score and cut the Loons lead to 2-1 midway through the fourth inning.
Crawford (2-3, 3.99 ERA) managed another very good start, giving up the 1-run on 5-hits and 1-walk, while striking out 6-batters through 5-innings.
West Michigan starter Austin Sodders (6-0, 1.05 ERA) a sixth round pick of the Detroit Tigers in the 2016 MLB draft out of UC Irivine continues to dominate Midwest League hitters, earning his sixth win of the season for the Whitecaps after giving up 2-runs on 6-hits, while striking out 8-Loons batters through 8-innings.
Jenco finished 2 for 3 with 1-run scored, hitting out of the No. 9 spot, while also making two amazing catches in center field to lead the Loons both offensively and defensively tonight.
Robinson was 1 for 4 with 2-RBI's on his third MWL home run of the season, while also making a huge defensive play at second base.
The Loons (whose record falls to 26-27 after dropping 2 of 3 to West Michigan) will kickoff a 3-game series (Fri-Sun) with the Bowling Green (KY.) Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays) at 7:05 pm tomorrow night at Dow Diamond.