Sweep Gives Loons Playoff Cushion
MIDLAND, Mich. - After the Fort Wayne TinCaps put two runs on the board in the top of the first inning, it was curtains as the Great Lakes Loons earned a three-game series sweep with a 9-6 victory on Thursday night at Dow Diamond.
It was run-scoring base hits from Devin Mann and Miguel Vargas in the first to give the Loons a lead 3-2, and a pair of home runs from Eric Peterson and Mann in the following inning that made it a comfortable 7-2 advantage.
With the victory, the Loons (30-30) maintain their hold on the top second-half Midwest League playoff spot with just 10 games left in the regular season. The West Michigan Whitecaps won in walk-off fashion 5-4 at home against the Dayton Dragons in 10 innings to remain 0.5 game back, while Fort Wayne's three-game skid sees them fall 2.0 games back of the Loons.
Jack Suwinski launched his 10th home run of the season, a two-run blast off Joel Inoa, to give Fort Wayne the early advantage in the first inning. Then it was three more runs charged to Inoa in the third that made things interesting, highlighted by an Owen Miller double and a solo shot from Gabriel Arias.
Inoa lasted three innings for the Loons before Mark Washington (W, 1-1) came on for three solid innings of relief allowing one run on just one hit. Devin Hemmerich (H, 1) struck out three batters in 1.2 innings of work before Melvin Jimenez (SV, 3) recorded the final four outs of the game.
Mann shined at the dish for Great Lakes going 2-for-3 with his home run, four RBI and three runs scored. Luke Heyer also turned in a multi-hit game going 2-for-4.
Despite scoring all nine runs in the first four frames, the final 12 batters of the game for the Loons were set down in order by TinCaps pitching from the fifth inning on.
Only half the job is complete for the Loons in what's become the most important seven-day stretch on the schedule. The team now travels to West Michigan for a four-game series that runs Friday through Monday, with both the Whitecaps and Loons jockeying for playoff position.
Following their final three road games of the season against the Lansing Lugnuts, the Loons will return to Dow Diamond to close out the regular season over Labor Day weekend when they host the South Bend Cubs for a three-game series Sept. 1-3.
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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