Aw, 'Nuts: 'Caps Swept by Lansing
NSING, MI - West Michigan Whitecaps pitcher Sandel De La Cruz issued a walk-off bases-loaded walk to infielder Rafael Lantigua, and the offense missed multiple opportunities to result in a 7-6 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts on Wednesday morning at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Lugnuts take all three games of the midweek series and marks the second-straight three-game sweep the Whitecaps have endured to their in-state rivals. West Michigan left the bases loaded in both the fourth and eighth innings and went 0-for-9 with runners in scoring position.
The Lugnuts took the early lead when newly added catcher Gabriel Moreno launched a solo home run in his first 2019 at-bat with the club in the opening inning. A run-scoring single by Jake Brodt helped Lansing tally a pair of first-inning runs to take a 2-0 advantage. In the third, Jeremiah Burks launched a two-run homer to right field to tie the game at two. An inning later, the "Caps took advantage of a bases-loaded walk to Wenceel Perez and a Lansing fielding error to take a 4-2 edge. The Lugnuts rallied with a pair in the bottom of the frame on a two-run single by Moreno to knot the game 4-4. Lantigua lifted a go-ahead sacrifice fly in the sixth, and Reggie Pruitt followed suit with another in the eighth to take a 6-4 lead.
In the ninth, Ulrich Bojarski collected a sacrifice fly of his own, but a fielding error by third baseman allowed Johnny Valente to score the tying run as two runners crossed home plate on the play to tie the game at six. In the bottom of the frame, pitcher Jose Vasquez issued a leadoff walk to Ryan Gold before leaving with an apparent injury having faced only one Lansing hitter. De La Cruz entered and allowed singles to Otto Lopez and Hunter Steinmetz before a four-pitch walk to Lantigua ended the game and secured the three-game sweep for the Lugnuts.
Lansing reliever Jackson Rees (1-0) gave up his first runs of the year in the ninth, but collected his first win of the 2019 season, while Vasquez (1-2) suffered the tough-luck loss despite facing a single hitter. The Whitecaps fall to a season-low five games under .500 at 16-21, while the Lugnuts improve to 17-21 on the year. Moreno led the Lansing offense in his first game with the Lugnuts, finishing a double shy of hitting for the cycle with three RBI in the ballgame. The Whitecaps have lost seven of ten games against Lansing this season.
The Whitecaps return home for an eight-day, nine-game homestand beginning with a doubleheader against the Great Lakes Loons Thursday night beginning at 6:05 pm. Lefty Adam Wolf starts for West Michigan against Loons pitcher Jose Chacin in game one. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Mike Coleman begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 5:55 pm. Tickets are available for any Whitecaps 2019 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
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