Benson Blasts Two Homers in 7-2 Win at Lansing
(Lansing, MI) - Will Benson recorded his second multi-homer game of the year and the Lake County Captains (29-18) tied both individual and team single-game triples records on Friday night in a 7-2 win over the Lansing Lugnuts (19-27). Hosea Nelson tied the Captains' individual record with two triples and Bo Naylor added a three-bagger to give Lake County three triples in a game for the fourth time in team history in the opener of a four-game series at Cooley Law School Stadium.
Despite all of the offense, the Captains had to come from behind on Friday. Jake Brodt gave Lansing a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the second inning. The Lugnuts' first baseman took a from Captains starter Luis Oviedo deep over the left field wall for a solo homer for his fifth long ball of the year.
Nelson's first triple of the night gave the Captains a chance to tie the game in the third inning, but misfortune befell Lake County. Nelson roped a triple to left-center that tipped off the glove of left fielder Hunter Steinmetz. After Lugnuts starter Josh Winckowski got Jose Fermin to ground out to shortstop for the second out, Tyler Freeman came up and hit a hot-shot grounder up the middle. The ball looked ticketed for centerfield until it hit the base umpire, Steven Rios, Jr. Freeman was awarded first base on Umpire's Interference, but by rule, Nelson had to stay on third. Winckowski then got Benson to ground out to second for the final out of the inning.
Undeterred, the Captains stormed back in the fifth. With one out, Nelson hit a flare to centerfield that D.J. Neal barely missed on a sliding attempt. Nelson hustled to second with a one-out double. After Fermin popped to second for out number two, Freeman hit a grounder off the fists toward the right side. Brodt, the Lugnuts' first baseman, dove to his right and smothered the baseball before flipping to Winckowski covering first. Freeman sprinted down the line and dove into first base to beat the throw for an infield single to keep the inning alive. Benson followed and crushed a towering three-run homer to right field on the first pitch he saw to put the Captains ahead, 3-1.
The Captains' rally continued in the fifth. Ruben Cardenas worked a walk and Naylor cracked a deep drive to centerfield. Neal went back to the wall and ran out of room, as the ball ricocheted off the fence and rocketed past him, bouncing back toward shallow center. Cardenas scored from first and Naylor hustled to third with an RBI triple. After a walk to Miguel Jerez, the Lugnuts called on right-hander Will McAffer to relieve Winckowski, but Connor Smith greeted him with an RBI single to right that brought home Naylor. The single capped a five-run Captains fifth inning to give Lake County a 5-1 lead.
Fermin and Freeman helped the Captains add an insurance run in the sixth. Fermin singled with one out, moved up to second on a passed ball and then stole third. Freeman drove him in with a sacrifice fly to right that extended the Captains' lead to 6-1.
Benson added one final blow in the ninth. Leading off the inning against the lefty hurler Marcus Reyes, Benson took two balls, watched a strike go by and then drilled the 2-1 pitch deep over the right field wall for his second homer of the game to give the Captains a 7-1 lead. The long ball marked Benson's second multi-homer of the year and his first since his four-home-run performance on April 18. It was Benson's seventh career multi-homer game.
Otto Lopez finished the scoring for Lansing. In the bottom of the ninth, Lopez hit a solo homer with one out off of Captains reliever Kyle Marman. The long ball cut the Captains' lead to 7-2.
Benson and Nelson were two of four Captains who had multiple hits on Friday. Benson was 2-for-5 with two homers and four RBI. Nelson went 3-for-4 with two triples, a double and a run. It was the first time since May 26, 2016 that a single Captain had three triples in a game. Willi Castro was the last to accomplish the feat. Naylor finished 2-for-5 with a triple, an RBI and a run. Freeman went 2-for-4 with an RBI and a run.
Oviedo (5-2) earned the victory for Lake County. The right-hander pitched six innings and held Lansing to one run on three hits. He walked three and struck out two. Marman made his pro debut and picked up the save. The homer to Lopez was the only run he allowed in three innings, during which he struck out five, walked none and limited Lansing to two hits.
Winckowski (4-2) suffered the loss for the Lugnuts. The Captains tallied five runs against the right-hander over 4.2 innings. Winckowski allowed eight hits, walked two and struck out three.
The Captains have won three games in a row and are 5-1 on their road trip. They return to action on Saturday night in game two of their four-game series at Lansing. First pitch at Cooley Law School Stadium is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Individual game tickets for all Captains games are on sale at the Classic Park box office, online at captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Mini ticket plans for the 2019 season are still available for great prices complete with several exclusive benefits. Information can be found at the Captains website www.captainsbaseball.com.
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