The Great Lakes Loons scored the go ahead run in the bottom of the eighth inning and held on for a 3-2 victory over the Lake County (OH.) Captains (Cleveland Indians) at Dow Diamond tonight. The Loons (17-20) have now won 8 of its 13 games in the month of May.
With the game tied at 2 runs apiece in the bottom of the eighth, Loons speedy newcomer Errol Robinson singled to lead off the inning, then scored from first base on an RBI double down the left field line off the bat of Carlos Rincon for a 3-2 lead. A lead which the Loons would not relinquish.
“The first guy was really good, he came out there and popped the zone and kept us off balance,” Robinson said of the Lake County starter. “The second guy, I decided to shorten up a little bit because early in the game I think I was trying to do a little more, I guess I was a little anxious being it was my first game at home. You know, after that I kind of decided it's time to be selfless and I needed to do what I can to get on base and just slap a single the other way, get on base and run, then let my guys drive me in.”
Robinson, a 22 year old second baseman from Boyds, MD who was drafted by the Dodgers in the sixth round of the 2016 MLB draft out of Ole Miss University, says he would ultimately like to hit in the lead-off spot, however, he will go wherever the team needs him, and after hitting his first Midwest League home run Saturday night in just his third game with the team, I think the coaching staff will be happy to have him anywhere in the lineup.
“I would prefer that, but whatever can help the team, really,” Robinson said of hitting out of the lead-off spot. “Wherever they need me, the other day I batted ninth and was kind of like a second lead-off man, so wherever they need me I'll try to give em my best and perform.”
The Great Lakes defense did not do starting pitcher Leo Crawford any favors early on as the Captains jumped out to a 1-0 lead following two throwing errors in the top half of the first inning.
Lake County second baseman Alexis Pantoja advanced to second base on a throwing error by Loons shortstop Gavin Lux, then scored on another throwing error, this one by third baseman Brendon Davis.
The Loons answered with two runs in the bottom half of the second inning, scoring one run on four consecutive singles and adding another on an infield grounder.
Cody Thomas, Keibert Ruiz, and Mitchell Hansen each singled to load the bases for Gage Green, who followed with an RBI single, driving in Thomas to tie the game at 1-run apiece with no outs and the bases still loaded.
Loons left fielder Saige Jenco then hit into a double play, however, Ruiz would manage to score from third on the play for a 2-1 Loons lead through two innings.
Another defensive throwing error, this one by Robinson after making a good play on a well-hit grounder to second base, allowed Pentoja again to reach in the top of the third inning. Pentoja then stole second to get into scoring position and scored on an RBI single off the bat of Lake County first baseman Emmanuel Tapia to tie the game at 2 runs apiece midway through the third.
Despite the early struggles from his defense, Crawford (2-2, 4.21 ERA) managed to get stronger as the game progressed, retiring the final nine batters he would face in another impressive start. A start where he gave up zero earned runs (both Lake County runs were unearned) on 5-hits, while striking out 4 Lake County batters through 6 innings.
“I started out where I was missing lot of pitches,” Crawford said. “So, I said to myself I need to go deep in the game, I need to throw a lot of strikes and make some good pitches. After, I think the second inning, everything started working really good and I felt really good today.”
Lake County starter Aaron Civale (0-0, ERA) was equally impressive and seemed to get stronger the deeper he went tonight as well, retiring the last 7-batters he would face. He gave up 2-runs on 8-hits while striking out 7 Great Lakes batters through 6-innings.
Loons Reliever Miguel Urena (2-0, 0.82 ERA) would earn the victory after allowing just 1-hit and 2-walks through 2-innings of relief tonight.
Great Lakes closer Angel German (S, 1) hit 101 mph while striking out 1-batter and earning his first save of the year as he closed out the ninth inning.
Green finished 2 for 3 with 1-RBI to pace the Loons' offense, followed by Rincon (GW RBI) and Lux, who were 2 for 4 each respectively, and Ruiz who was 1 for 3 with 1-run scored. Robinson and Thomas finished 1 for 4 with 1-run scored each respectively to round out the offense.
The Loons will return for the second game of this 3-game series with Lake County at 7:05 pm tomorrow evening at Dow Diamond.