The Great Lakes Loons won game 3 of their series against the Peoria Chiefs with a combination of some great run support, and an excellent performance on the mound by three of their up and coming pitchers on Sunday afternoon at Dow Diamond. The 6-2 win gave the Loons their 2nd series in a row, winning 2 of the 3 games against Peoria, as well as taking 2 out of 3 from the Burlington Bee’s on Friday. Bobby Coyle continued to impress with his bat, as he went 2 for 4 on Sunday afternoon, with a home run and a double. Since Thursday nights game against Burlington, when Coyle completed a come from behind win with a “walk off” triple in the bottom of the 9thinning, he has shown great confidence and patience at the plate. Now, the ball seems to be jumping off of his bat, as he is swinging with the poise and confidence of a major leaguer. “It always feels good to execute the game plan,” said Coyle. “I’ve just been getting more plate appearances, and doing whatever I can to help out our pitchers with some run support.”
Coyle led off the bottom half of the 8th inning with a double. Great Lakes right fielder, Jon Garcia followed with a walk. Then, newly acquired Loons 3rd baseman, Joe Becker singled to score Coyle from third base, giving the Loons a 6-2 lead. Earlier, in the 7th, Preston Mattingly singled to start the inning. Shortstop, Bryant Hernandez walked, and Loons leadoff man, Leon Landry singled to bring in both base runners.
The first three innings of Sunday’s game were pretty much a pitchers duel, as both starting pitchers were basically unstoppable. It wasn’t until the 4th inning, when the Peoria team started to rally a little. Peoria shortstop, Arismendy Alcantara walked to start the inning, and David Macias singled with no outs. After striking out Ryan Cuneo, Loons pitcher, Garrett Gould walked Greg Rohan to load the bases with 1 out. Gould dug in and struck out Peoria DH, Richard Jones, and got himself out of a bases loaded mess. Finally, Peoria catcher Micah Gibbs popped out to center field, ending the inning. Peoria stranded 3 runners in the 4th inning.
The Loons got things going in the bottom of the 4th inning when Leon Landry reached base on an infield error. Landry then stole 2nd base. Loons 2nd baseman, Casio Grider ripped a line shot double that was just out of reach of Peoria 3rd baseman, Greg Rohan’s glove, scoring Landry from 2nd base. That 1st run was all it would take to get the Loons’ bat’s going. Great Lakes left fielder, Bobby Coyle came up and hit a 355 foot 2 run dinger to right field, giving the loons a 3-0 lead through 4 innings.
The Chiefs came right back in the top of the 5th, as D.J. Fitzgerald singled with 1 out. Kyung-Min Na then reached base on what looked like a routine double play, but an error allowed Na to reach the base. Fitzgerald and Na then stole 3rd and 2nd respectively, and Loons catcher, Steve Cilladi made a bad throw to 3rd base that went out into left field, scoring Fitzgerald. Arismendy Alcantara singled to bring in Na. Peoria then loaded the bases later in the inning, and Richard Jones finally popped out to 1st base to end the inning, leaving 3 stranded for the 2nd time Sunday.
Great Lakes starter, Garrett Gould went 5 solid innings. Gould gave up 5 hits, 2 unearned runs, and 3 walks, while striking out 4 batters. Ryan Acosta came in to relieve Gould and pitched 3 very strong innings. Acosta was “lights out,” giving up only 2 hits, no runs, and no walks, while striking out one Peoria batter. Logan Bawcom came in and closed it out in the 9th inning for the Loons, giving up 2 hits, no runs, and 1 walk, while striking out one.
Hayden Simpson went 4 and 2/3rd innings for Peoria. Simpson gave up 3 hits, 3 runs, and walked one Loon batter, while striking out 4 batters. Eric Jokisch pitched 3 and 1/3rd for Peoria. Jokisch gave up 5 hits, 3 runs, and 3 walks, while striking out 4 Loon batters.
The Loons will have a day off before heading out on a long road trip. The day off will be a welcome rest for a lot of the Loons players who are just getting used to the aches and pains of a full Minor League Baseball season. Coach John Shoemaker seems to have his troops playing good baseball after a few slip-up's last week. Shoemaker is quick to point out that there is a lot of baseball to be played over the next few months. “It’s good that we’re winning right now, but a baseball season isn’t a sprint, it’s more like a marathon,” Shoemaker said. “We were talking to our guys about being tired. You know, when you watch a horse race, sometimes you watch that horse coming down the last stretch of that race, and that horse might be in 4th or 5th place, and the Jockey’s use a term to bring that horse down the final stretch, they say they have to ‘go to the whip.’ We’ve been using that horse racing term with our team this year when we feel tired, we just say, it’s time to go to the whip, and finish strong!”
The Loons will return to Dow Diamond on June, 17th as they face the Fort Wayne Tin Caps. We hope we will be seeing you down there at The Dow, Dow Diamond that is…..