Captains move to 3-0 with 5-3 comeback win
(MIDLAND, MI) - After capturing the first two games of the season at home, the Lake County Captains (3-0) needed some help to push their season-opening win streak to three games and Ruben Cardenas delivered. The right fielder came through with a go-ahead home run in the sixth and, after the Great Lakes Loons (0-3) regained the lead, a go-ahead double in the eighth that proved to be the game-winning hit in a 5-3, come-from-behind victory.
For the first time in the series, the Loons drew first blood, scoring against Lake County starter Juan Mota in the second inning. Miguel Vargas laced a one-out double to the right-centerfield gap and later scored when Leonel Valera popped a fly ball that dunked down the right field line for an RBI single.
Loons starter Josiah Gray flummoxed the Captains over the first four innings and not only maintained the 1-0 lead, but also held the Captains hitless. The right-hander, who was traded from the Cincinnati Reds to the Los Angeles Dodgers in the Yasiel Puig trade this past December, made a strong first impression in his Dodgers organizational debut. He struck out six batters over those hitless innings and walked just one. In the fifth, however, the Captains capitalized on a bloop single of their own to tie the game.
Quentin Holmes led off the fifth and hit a fly ball to left field that dropped in front of Niko Hulsizer for the Captains' first hit of the game. Holmes then used his wheels and took off for second base. Catcher Hunter Feduccia air-mailed the throw and Holmes promptly took third. Jesse Berardi worked a one-out walk and stole second to put two men in scoring position for Angel Lopez and the Captains' DH ripped a single into left. Holmes scored easily on Lopez's first Captains knock to tie the game, but Hulsizer threw Berardi out at home to keep the score at 1-1.
Cardenas gave the Captains their first lead in the sixth. With two outs and nobody on, he smoked a line drive that sailed over the left field wall. Cardenas' first professional regular season homer was the Captains' first long ball of the year and gave Lake County a 2-1 advantage.
The Lake County lead was short lived. In the bottom of the sixth, Captains reliever Thomas Ponticelli issued a one-out walk to James Outman and Hulsizer smashed a double down the left field line to bring home Outman from first with the tying run. Vargas came up next and roped his second double of the game to the right-centerfield alley. Hulsizer trotted home to give the Loons a 3-2 lead.
The Captains bounced back in the eighth and took the lead for good with a three-run frame against Loons reliever Jasiel Alvino. Jose Fermin started the rally with a one-out single and Alvino walked Marcos Gonzalez to put two aboard. Cardenas came up next and yanked a double into the left field corner that scored both Fermin and Gonzalez to give the Captains a 4-3 lead. After Josh Rolette singled, Holmes hit a fly ball to centerfield and Cardenas scored from third on the sacrifice fly to make it 5-3.
Skylar Arias closed the door in the ninth to earn the save and nail down the win for Lake County. The lefty struck out a pair and walked one for his first save of the year. Ponticelli (1-0) picked up the win after allowing two runs on four hits over four innings. He struck out three and walked two.
Alvino (0-1) suffered the loss and a blown save in his first outing of the year. He only pitched the eighth and was responsible for three runs on three hits with one walk and one strikeout.
The Captains will try to start the season 4-0 for the second year in a row when they wrap up their four-game, home-and-home series with the Loons on Sunday afternoon. First pitch at Dow Diamond is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.
POSTED 04/06/2019 23:27