The new look Great Lakes Loons (51-51) got back to .500 with its fourth straight win after sweeping the Bowling Green Hot Rods in a double-header (2-1 in the first 7-inning game) while winning the second 7-inning game 1-0 at Dow Diamond tonight.
Earlier in the month, the Loons had dropped four straight to the Hot Rods while in the middle of the longest losing streak in franchise history.
“Yeah, they gave it to us the last time we played them,” Loons shortstop Gavin Lux said of the earlier series in Bowling Green. “So, it was good to kind of give it right back to them tonight. Those four games, they were rough games.”
The Loons gave it back, using three pitchers who combined to hold the Hot Rods (the best hitting team in the Midwest League) to just 3-hits and 2-walks with 9-strikeouts for the shutout win.
Starter Melvin Jimenez (0.00 ERA) was lights out in his first appearance at Dow Diamond, allowing Just 1-hit and 2-walks, while striking out 3-batters through 3-scoreless innings.
The difference in the game came in the bottom of the second inning when right fielder Carlos Rincon (16) led off with an opposite field bomb over right field wall at Dow Diamond for his sixteenth home run of the season to give the Loons a 1-0 lead it would never relinquish.
Another Loons newcomer, reliever Dan Jagiello (1-0, 0.00 ERA) was also making his Dow Diamond debut and would go on to earn his first win after replacing Jimenez in the fourth inning.
“We're on a four game win streak, so we're hot right now, and the guys made me feel really welcome” Jagiello said. “I was just happy to be pitching in front of the home crowd, this is my first time being here and I thought it was pretty cool.”
Jagiello, a 6-foot-3 RHP from West Islip, NY who was drafted by the Dodgers out of LIU Post in the 2017 MLB draft, joined the Loons on July 17, after playing rookie ball for the Arizona League Dodgers before pitching in one game on the recent road trip, however, he was all smiles after coming off the field and hearing the 5,204 Loons fans cheer for his first win in his first game at Dow Diamond.
“I was at the away stadiums and those are pretty cool, but they (his teammates) said just wait until you get home. I came home, it was the first time walking out, with a really cool setup, the fans are great. I mean, just hearing them cheer after I came out, it was a surreal feeling.”
Jagiello (1-0, 0.00 ERA) allowed just 2-hits while striking out 4-batters through 2 1/3 scoreless innings to earn his first full-season win in professional baseball.
Loons closer Angel German struck out the final two batters of the game in the bottom of the seventh after getting the first batter to pop up.
German (SV7, 2.03 ERA) put up zeroes while striking out 2-batters to close out the final 1 2/3 innings, earning his seventh save of the season for the Loons.
Loons catcher Stevie Berman was 1 for 2 from the dish, while Rincon was 1 for 3 with his sixteenth homer.
Lux had a very productive evening, with 3-hits and 3-stolen bases in the double header for the Loons, going 1 for 3 with 2 swipes in the second game.
“It's good to finally see some results with some of the things I've been working on,” Lux said. “So, for me it was good to see and it felt really good.
The Loons will try to make it 5 in a row when they host Bowling Green tomorrow night for the third and final game of the series.