History: First Loons No-Hitter Comes After 15 Years
EASTLAKE, OH - The Great Lakes Loons (39-31) made history against the Lake County Captains (37-33) Friday night, throwing their first no-hitter since the team's inaugural 2007 season with a 14-0 drubbing at Classic Park. A combined effort from starter Clayton Beeter and relievers Bobby Miller, Jake Cantleberry and Cameron Gibbens held the Captains both scoreless and hitless while walking three batters and striking out 13. Carson Taylor caught all nine innings and contributed a ninth-inning grand slam to punctuate a six-run frame with the 100th home run hit this season for Great Lakes.
No one in a grey uniform that read Great Lakes across the chest was sitting with two outs in the top of the ninth, and that included the 6'7" Gibbens, who took an opportunity to wipe the sweat from his brow. Gibbens, 26, stared into the strike zone of 20-year-old Jose Tena, a lefty-hitting middle infielder for Lake County. Loons first-baseman Justin Yurchak held Will Brennan aboard at first, who delayed Friday's result a few batters longer with a one-out walk. After a brief pause, the 1-and-1 pitch to Tena was popped up, causing Yurchak to drift to his left into foul territory, flailing his hands and eyeing the ball, along with the opportunity to finalize history, into his glove.
"It was the first one I had ever been a part of, it was a very special night, and I couldn't have been happier for the guys out there," Loons manager Austin Chubb said. "Obviously, offensively, a huge night, but a great job by everyone on defense as well."
Beeter: 2.0 IP, 0 hit, 0 run, 1 BB, 3 K
Miller (W): 5.0 IP, 0 hit, 0 run, 1 BB, 7 K
Cantleberry: 1.0 IP, 0 hit, 0 run, 0 BB, 1 K
Gibbens: 1.0 IP, 0 hit, 0 run, 1 BB, 2 K
Friday night's matchup was highly anticipated, and for good reason, spotlighting Cleveland 2019 first-rounder Daniel Espino (L, 0-2) against the Dodgers' 2020 second-round compensation selection Clayton Beeter, who was scheduled to be followed by 2020 first-rounder Bobby Miller.
The Loons' tandem pitchers of Beeter and Miller (W, 2-2) combined for seven innings of hitless baseball with ten strikeouts. Friday's win was the fifth shutout victory for the Loons this season, and their second against Lake County this week. Miller powered through a stretch, retiring 14 consecutive batters before a two-out walk in the seventh. Following the walk, Miller ended his night with his seventh punchout. In 44 1/3 innings in 2021, Miller is allowing a .175 average to opposing batters, on top of 53 strikeouts and a devastating 0.88 WHIP.
Right-hander Cam Gibbens recorded the final three outs with two strikeouts in what wasn't a save situation with a 14-0 lead, but certainly felt like it. In 20 innings with Great Lakes, the Australian-born Gibbens has amassed 34 strikeouts, allowing only three earned runs in 14 appearances. Batters are averaging .149 against Gibbens at the plate, on top of a 1.19 earned-run average.
The Great Lakes offense came awfully close to stealing Friday's headline with 14 runs crossing on 16 hits. Leading 4-0 going into the seventh, the Loons exploded for 10 runs in the final three frames, scoring six in the top of the ninth. Ryan Ward delivered his second and final hit of the night in the top of the eighth with a run-scoring double, plating Zac Ching from second. In the ninth, with the bases loaded and two outs, Taylor's third home run of the season came as his first professional grand slam and the Loons' fourth granny this year.
Loons outfielder Jonny Deluca made his High-A debut in impressive fashion, singling on the first pitch he saw in the first inning. Deluca, on the second pitch offered to him, recorded his first home run with Great Lakes in the top of the fourth. Deluca finished his night 3-for-5, following a one-out single in the ninth inning.
The Loons have played their best baseball on the road in 2021, building a record of 25-15 when playing away from Dow Diamond. A 12-game road trip began with Great Lakes taking a series in Dayton, four games to two, and have won three of the first four this week against Lake County. The Loons added to their lead in their division by a game and a half over Dayton, and have now won eight of their last 11 games. Of their 42 hits against the Captains this week, 21 have been for extra-bases.
Great Lakes eyes an opportunity to win their seventh series of the season as they send Landon Knack to the mound, and will be opposed by Lake County's Hunter Gaddis. Coverage begins at 6:35 P.M. EDT with the Loons On-Deck Circle, Built by Three Rivers on ESPN 100.9 FM. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00 P.M. from Classic Park.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team's inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team's home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
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