Cardenas' Inside-The-Park Homer Propels Captains
(Bowling Green, KY) - When Ruben Cardenas raced around the bases in the top of the third inning on Tuesday night, he became the first Captain to hit an inside-the-park home run since 2016 and he also gave his team the lead. The hectic home run was instrumental in helping the Lake County Captains (8-4) defeat the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the second game of a three-game series at Bowling Green Ballpark, 4-2.
Cardenas and Tyler Freeman accounted for most of the Captains' offense on Tuesday. Freeman led off the ballgame with a double down the left field line and Cardenas knocked him in with a two-out single to center to give Lake County a 1-0 lead.
Bowling Green answered in the bottom of the first, but Captains starter Raymond Burgos managed to limit the damage. Smith led off with a walk and Burgos balked him to second base. After a single by Wander Franco, Burgos skipped a wild pitch past catcher Bo Naylor that scored Smith to tie the game at 1-1. Burgos and the Captains bounced back, however. The left-hander struck out Ford Proctor, Naylor threw Franco out trying to steal third and Jesse Berardi robbed Kaleo Johnson of a hit with a backhand pick at third and a long throw to first from foul territory to end the inning.
Two innings later, Freeman again kicked off the proceedings for Lake County's offense. The Captains' shortstop slammed a double over right fielder Tony Pena. After Jose Fermin bunted Freeman to third and Hot Rods starter Alan Strong struck out Will Benson, Cardenas came up with Freeman 90 feet away and two outs. Cardenas cracked a deep drive to centerfield. Smith raced back, but the centerfielder could not reach the deep fly ball, and collided with the wall. Smith was hurt on the impact with the wall and Cardenas sped around the bases with a two-run, inside-the-park home run to give the Captains a 3-1 lead.
Cardenas' hustle-homer was the first by a Captain since Sam Haggerty accomplished the feat on August 8, 2016 at Dayton. Smith had to leave the game and was replaced in centerfield by Bryce Brown.
Brown helped out his club with a big swing in the fifth that pulled Bowling Green within one run. With one out and nobody aboard, Brown drilled a home run down the left field line to trim the Captains' lead to 3-2.
Freeman again delivered a big hit in the seventh. The Captains were still clinging to a one-run lead when Quentin Holmes drove a line drive to the gap in left-centerfield. The speedster ripped around the bases and landed on third with a two-out triple. Freeman then singled to right field to knock in Holmes and expand the Captains' advantage to 4-2.
Dakody Clemmer escaped minor trouble in the ninth inning to secure the win for Lake County and nail down his second save of the year. After a leadoff single by Osmy Gregorio, the Hot Rods had the tying run at the plate. Clemmer, however, got Roberto Alvarez to ground out to third and Tony Pena to bounce to second. With Gregorio on third and two outs, Clemmer struck out Brown swinging to end the game.
Aaron Pinto picked up the win in relief for the Captains. Pinto (2-0) pitched 1.2 scoreless and hitless innings. He struck out three and did not issue a walk.
Strong (0-1) took a tough-luck loss for Bowling Green. The right-hander pitched a career-long six innings and set another new career-high with eight strikeouts, but the Captains scored three runs on six hits and no walks to hand Strong the defeat.
The Captains and Hot Rods have split the first two games of their three-game series and will play the rubber game on Wednesday morning. First pitch at Bowling Green Ballpark is scheduled for 11:35 a.m. ET.
Information about Classic Park or the Captains can be found online at www.captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Affordable ticket packages and group party and picnic options are available now.
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