With just 1-game left in the 2017 Midwest League season, the Great Lakes Loons (69-69) won its penultimate game with an 8-7 victory over the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) in front of 4,104 at Dow Diamond this afternoon.
Loons shortstop Gavin Lux had 3-straight hits with 3-RBI's in his first three consecutive at bats to pace the Loons' offense today.
”I was just working off last night where I struggled a little bit, I was a little too aggressive,” Lux said. “So today, I was just trying to find a ball in the zone and attack it. I just stuck to a plan that I had today, and I got some good results.”
With the Loons leading 7-6 after six innings, Lake County first baseman Jose Vicente tied the game at 7-runs apiece in the top of the seventh inning on a solo home run off Loons reliever Dan Jaggiello who had replaced Jeremiah Muhammad in the sixth inning.
The Loons would regain the lead for good when Starling Heredia led off the bottom of the seventh with a single, advanced to third on another single by Loons third baseman Jared Walker, before Heredia was driven in on a sac fly RBI by Loons right fielder Tyler Adkison for an 8-7 lead it would not relinquish.
Jaggiello (2-0, BS1) had the unique distinction of having a blown save, while also earning his second win of the season after giving up 1-run on 2-hits and 1-walk, while striking out 2-batters through 3 1/3 innings.
The Loons had jumped out to an early lead when left fielder Saige Jenco led off the game with a walk and promptly stole second base, before he was driven in when Lux roped a hanging slider to right field for an RBI-double and a 1-0 Loons lead in the bottom of the first inning.
The Loons kept the hot bats going in the bottom of the second when Adkison led off with a double to left field, and first baseman Nick Yarnall battled a 10-pitch at bat for a single to put runners at the corners with nobody out, before Moises Perez drove in Adkison for a 2-0 Loons lead on a sac fly RBI, as Yarnall was doubled up after he was caught leaving too early while trying to tag up.
Jenco followed with a 2-out infield single and moved to second on a wild pitch, before he was driven in on an RBI-single off the bat of Lux for a 3-0 Loons lead after 2-innings.
Lake County managed to get on the board following an odd situation in the top of the third inning when No. 9 hitter Jorma Rodriguez struck out, after (what was ruled) a wild pitch by Loons starter Riley Ottesen had gotten past catcher Connor Wong, who thought the ball had been tipped, however, it was ruled a dropped ball third strike as Rodriguez prudently advanced to second base on the play.
Lake County lead off hitter Todd Isaacs then hit into what appeared to be a routine grounder to Yarnall at first, who flipped the ball to Ottesen, however, the ball dropped out of Ottesen's glove for a fielding error, allowing Rodriguez to score and make it a 3-1 game in the top of the third inning.
Ottesen (4.30 ERA) whose pitch count got a little too high, was replaced by Jeremiah Muhammad after giving up the 1-run on 1-hit and 3-walks, with 4-strikeouts through 3-innings.
Muhammad gave up a lead off walk, followed by an RBI-triple as Lake County cut the Loons lead to 3-2, before walking another batter to put runners at the corners with nobody out in the top of the fourth inning.
Isaacs, the Lake County lead off hitter, then grounded into a fielders choice, force-out at second base, which drove in a run to tie the game 3-3 midway through four innings.
The Loons broke the game open in the bottom of the fourth, starting with Adkison, who singled to lead off the bottom half of the inning, before Yarnall (4) destroyed a 415-foot home run to straight away center field, his fourth of the year for a 5-3 Loons lead with nobody out.
Perez then walked and was driven in on an RBI-double by Jenco, who advanced to third on a throwing error for a 6-3 Loons lead, as Lake County starter Micah Miniard was chased in favor of Captains reliever Cameron Mingo.
Lux wasted little time, jumping on the first pitch from Mingo for his third consecutive RBI base-hit to drive in Jenco with an RBI-single and a 7-3 Loons lead after 4-innings.
Lake County would not go away quietly as Isaacs crushed a 2-RBI triple off Muhammad to make it a 7-5 game, before he was driven in on a sac fly RBI for a 7-6 game in the top of the sixth inning.
Muhammad (3.45 ERA) gave up 5-runs on 4-hits and 3-walks, with 3-strikeouts through 2 2/3 innings.
Lux was 3 for 5 with 3-RBI's and Adkison was 2 for 3 with an RBI and 2-runs scored to lead the Great Lakes offense.
Yarnall was 2 for 4 with 2-RBI's and 1-run scored, and Jenco was 2 for 4 with a walk, an RBI, and 3-runs scored, while Heredia was 2 for 4 as well.
The Loons, who are currently sitting at .500 with a 69-69 record, will wrap up the 2017 season with a chance to become the first Great Lakes team since the 2011 MWL season to finish with a winning record in a matinee 2:05 pm game against the Captains at Dow Diamond tomorrow afternoon.