LANSING, MI – The West Michigan Whitecaps bullpen allowed seven runs over the last five innings to surrender three separate late-inning leads, and a pair of costly fielding errors led to a heartbreaking 11-10, 11-inning loss to the Lansing Lugnuts in front of 5,896 fans at Jackson Field on Saturday
LANSING, MI – The West Michigan Whitecaps bullpen allowed seven runs over the last five innings to surrender three separate late-inning leads, and a pair of costly fielding errors led to a heartbreaking 11-10, 11-inning loss to the Lansing Lugnuts in front of 5,896 fans at Jackson Field on Saturday night.
Despite the Whitecaps offense scoring seven runs in the final three innings, the bullpen failed to finish the victory. The Whitecaps loss, combined with a Fort Wayne win over the South Bend Cubs – their fourth straight victory – trims West Michigan’s lead in the Midwest League Eastern Division to just a half-game with seven games remaining.
Lansing plated the contest’s first run when Jacob Wilson delivered an RBI-single in the opening inning. In the following frame, the ‘Caps took the lead with Austin Murr’s RBI-double and a go-ahead single from Josh Crouch to take a 2-1 lead. Lansing knotted the game in the third when Danny Bautista collected an RBI-single. The score remained the same until the fifth when Crouch blasted a go-ahead home run – his third for the ‘Caps this season – to give West Michigan a 3-2 lead, but in the sixth, Colby Halter’s second double of the night plated the tying run. After reliever Dario Gardea missed with nine straight pitches, walking two batters before hitting the third to load the bases, Elvis Alvarado gave up a go-ahead sacrifice fly to T.J. Schofield-Sam to give Lansing a 4-3 lead.
With two outs in the ninth, the ‘Caps staged a furious rally, only to give it back in the bottom of the frame. Back-to-back wild pitches by Pedro Santos plated the tying and winning runs before Izaac Pacheco’s two-run triple gave the Whitecaps a 7-4 lead. The Lugnuts responded with a two-out comeback of their own, scoring two on a single from Colby Thomas, bringing the score to 7-6. Pacheco committed a fielding error on Brennan Milone’s groundball to third base that kept Lansing’s chances alive before an infield single from Euribiel Angeles tied the game at seven with an infield single. After the two teams traded runs in the tenth, Gage Workman led off the 11th inning with a two-run homer to give West Michigan a 10-8 lead. In the bottom of the frame, Jacob Wilson, who reached base five times in the contest, delivered a run with an RBI-double to bring the ‘Caps lead to 10-9. With one out and the bases loaded, Angeles chopped a ground ball to second base that was mishandled by infielder Luke Gold, resulting in the tying run scoring from third base and a missed chance at a game-ending double play. Halter followed with a walk-off RBI-single to deliver the Lugnuts the improbable victory.
The Whitecaps record drops to 65-58 overall and 33-25 in the second half, while the Lugnuts jump to 58-66 and 27-32 in the second half. Lansing reliever Christian Fernandez (6-4) picked up his sixth win after tossing the eleventh inning, while Angel Reyes (6-3) gave up four runs in the final two innings in taking his third loss.
The Whitecaps play their final road game of the 2023 regular season with a Sunday matchup against the Lugnuts at 1:05 p.m.Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 12:50 p.m. Get your tickets for all 2023 home games now at www.whitecapsbaseball.com.