The Great Lakes Loons (29-28) kicked off game-1 of a three-game road series with a 3-1 victory over the Midwest Leagues top team, the (38-19) West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) before a near-capacity matinee crowd of 8,020 at Fifth Third Ballpark in Comstock Park, MI this afternoon.
The Loons went to work behind a quality start from RHP Chris Matthewson, along with some unbelievable pitching out of the bull pen; while also getting offensive production from the latter portion of the batting order, with Mitchell Hansen going 2 for 4 with an RBI out of the seventh spot; and Luis Meza going 2 for 3 with an RBI, hitting out of the eighth spot.
After spotting the Whitecaps one run in the bottom of the first inning, the Loons answered with two runs in the seventh and another run in the ninth.
Loons DH Oneil Cruz ripped a 1-out single, followed by a walk to catcher Keibert Ruiz before both players were driven in on a 2-RBI single off the bat of Hansen to take a 2-1 lead in the top of the seventh inning.
Cruz and Ruiz would go on to reach base on back to back walks, while Hansen loaded the bases with a single in the ninth inning, before Cruz scored on a sac fly RBI by Meza for a 3-1 lead.
Earlier in the game, Whitecaps center fielder Jacob Robson had managed to get to Matthewson with a 2-out single, before scoring on an RBI double off the bat of former Michigan State standout Blaise Salter (who is the grandson of former Detroit Tigers catcher Bill Freehan) to give West Michigan a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning.
That first inning run, however, would be it for the Whitecaps as Matthewson (1-0, 3.05 ERA) put together another quality start, giving up just 1-run on 5-hits and 3-walks, while striking out 5-batters through 3 2/3 innings this afternoon.
Loons flame-throwing reliever Angel German (1-0, 0.00 ERA) ran his scoreless streak to 17.1 innings this season, while also earning his first win of the season, allowing just 1-walk, with 1-strikeout through 2 2/3 innings of no-hit, scoreless relief.
Reliever Gavin Pittore (H,1) earned his first hold of the season, allowing 1-hit, while striking out 2-batters through 2-innings.
Nolan Long (SV,1) allowed 1-hit, earning his first save of the season while closing out the ninth inning today.
The Loons will close out the series with West Michigan tomorrow and Thursday before returning for a four-game home series with the South Bend (IN.) Cubs (Chicago Cubs) Fri-Mon at Dow Diamond.