Long Road Trip Ends with 7-6 Loss
EASTLAKE, OH - The Great Lakes Loons (40-32) fumbled their series finale on Sunday at Classic Park, falling 7-6 to the Lake County Captains (38-34). Zac Ching finished Sunday's game 3-for-3 with a three-run homer in the ninth, drawing the deficit to a run. Great Lakes won their fourth game of the week Saturday night to win their seventh series of the season.
The Loons homered three times on Sunday to round out their weekly total to 20, a season-most in a six-game series. Taking four of six to begin the road trip in Dayton, and doing the same against Lake County, Great Lakes holds the top spot in the East Division entering their 12-game home stand at Dow Diamond beginning Tuesday against West Michigan.
An incredible week drew to a close for Great Lakes, despite Sunday's loss. The series in Lake County most importantly saw the first no-hitter thrown in Loons' franchise history Friday night, winning 14-0. In the mix of 20 home runs, two were grand slams. 20 home runs from July 19-July 25 was the most in all of professional baseball. Great Lakes took four games from Lake County, who entered with an 18-6 record when playing at Classic Park in 2021.
Along with Ching's 3-for-3 day, the Loons were offensively led by Justin Yurchak and Joe Vranesh, who finished an identical 2-for-4 with two runs. Brandon Lewis smoked his 12th HR in his 23rd game with Great Lakes, tying the game in the top of the sixth. Two batters later, and with two outs, Yurchak gave the Loons their only lead of the game with his fourth homer of the season. Great Lakes finished with 61 hits this week against the Captains, 31 of them were for extra-bases.
Lake County promptly answered with five unanswered runs between the sixth and seventh innings.
Great Lakes starter Jesus Vargas threw five innings, allowing two runs on seven hits with a strikeout. The Loons needed four arms to complete the next three innings on the mound. Zack Plunkett walked a batter in the top of the sixth before Franklin De La Paz failed to record an out, finishing with two runs on two hits, a walk and a hit by pitch. Melvin Jimenez was responsible for the next 1 1/3 innings, also allowing two runs on two hits. Mike Mokma finished the game for Great Lakes, allowing no runs on one hit in the eighth inning.
Entering Sunday, De La Paz (L, 0-1) hadn't allowed a run, let alone a hit in 8 1/3 innings, striking out 10 batters and walking three in five appearances with an 0.64 ERA.
Mason Hickman (W, 5-5) struck out seven batters in six innings, allowing three runs to score on five hits and two long balls. Tim Herrin relieved the Lake County starter Hickman for the next two scoreless innings, allowing only a walk. Kevin Kelly finished the game for the Captains, responsible for Ching's three-run homer to allow it to turn into a one-run game.
With the conclusion of the 12-game road trip, Great Lakes returns to Dow Diamond atop the East Division for 12 home games to end the month of July and turn the calendar into August. The Loons welcome the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Detroit Tigers' High-A affiliate, for the first six games. This season, Great Lakes is 8-4 against the Whitecaps, taking each series four-games-to-two. First pitch on Tuesday at Dow Diamond is scheduled for 7:05 P.M. EDT, coverage beginning on ESPN 100.9 FM with the Loons On-Deck Circle, Built by Three Rivers, at 6:35 P.M.
Following the West Michigan series, the San Diego Padres' High-A Fort Wayne TinCaps invade Dow Diamond for the first time this series, beginning August 3. The Loons took four games of six against Fort Wayne from June 29-July 4.
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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