Captains edge Hot Rods for crucial Game 1 win
EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains clung to a one-run lead on Wednesday as reliever Nick Pasquale pitched the Captains to a 5-4 win over the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
Right-hander Cody Anderson (4-7, 3.20) took the bump for the Captains to counter Bowling Green's Parker Markel (11-5, 3.53), who has been the Hot Rods most formidable starter during the second half of the season.
The Captains welcomed a pair of newcomers as outfielder Tyler Naquin and infielder Joey Wendle joined the team from the Mahoning Valley Scrappers. Naquin, 21, was the Cleveland Indians' first-round draft pick and Wendle was selected to the New York-Penn League All-Star Team earlier this season.
The Hot Rods accelerated first as they plated one in the first inning. Shortstop Jake Hager led off the game with a single to shortstop Francisco Lindor, who committed a throwing error that allowed Hager to advance to second. Right fielder Drew Vettleson followed with an infield bunt single and the Hot Rods loaded the bases as centerfielder Todd Glaesmann drew a walk. Anderson rebounded with a big strikeout and a groundball force play scored just one run, giving Bowling Green the early lead.
Lake County came back with a rebuttal in their half of the inning as shortstop Francisco Lindor was plunked with a one-out pitch and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two out, first baseman Jerrud Sabourin singled to score Lindor and tie the game at 1-1.
The Captains took off in the second inning as catcher Alex Lavisky lined a single into center and centerfielder Tyler Naquin doubled. A sacrifice fly brought Lavisky in across the dish and Lindor followed with a double to plate Naquin. A wild pitch moved Lindor to third and right fielder Jordan Smith struck with a single to tack on one more, boosting the Captains to the 4-1 lead.
One more touched the plate for the Captains in the third as Naquin drew a walk and second baseman Jose Ramirez singled. Cue Lindor, who lined a double down the right field line to score Naquin and advance the lead to 5-1.
Markel's day drew to a close during the third inning, sealing his line at 2.2 innings pitched, allowing five runs on nine hits, three walks and a pair of strikeouts. The starter was replaced with reliever Jacob Partridge, who went on to complete the remainder of the game for the Hot Rods.
Right-hander Nick Pasquale took over for Anderson to start the fourth and ran into some trouble in the fifth inning. Vettleson roped a single into right and Glasemann doubled into left. With two out, Segovia drew a walk to load the bases again and designated hitter Cameron Seitzer emptied the bags with a double into center to bring the Hot Rods within one.
Pasquale struggled in the next two innings pitched, but dug in to pitch the Captains out of jams until the eighth, where he retired the side in order.
Closer Enosil Tejeda entered the game to pitch the ninth for the Captains and kept things interesting as he yielded back-to-back singles to start the inning. Once Glaesmann was thrown out attempting to advance to third base, Tejeda rebounded to strike out two Hot Rods to preserve the Captains with the 5-4 win.
Captains' manager Dave Wallace was relieved to get the first win out of the way, but noted the team must keep its sights set on the next game.
"[The win] is very important, but at the same time, we're going to enjoy it, load up the bus and go to Bowling Green," said Wallace. "We've got to put it behind us and get ready for tomorrow night."
Wallace accredited Wednesday's win to Pasquale, who posted a final line of five innings pitched, surrendering three runs on five hits, a pair of walks and three strikeouts.
"In my mind, he was the player of the game," Wallace said. "The way he stepped up and battled through those last couple innings when he didn't have much left in the tank was huge. That sets up our bullpen nice for tomorrow and the rest of the series."
Pasquale noted that he started to tire out toward the end of his outing, but when Wallace asked if he could remain in the game through the eighth, he was up for the task.
"I came in and Wally asked me how I was feeling," Pasquale revealed. "I told him I felt good and felt a little fatigued, but I said I could get it done."
Wallace also noted the significant at-bats constructed by Captains' newcomer Tyler Naquin, who went 2-for-3 with two doubles.
"All year, we've had guys come up and they've stepped up," said Wallace. "Tonight was no exception."
Naquin was thrilled to get the call-up to join the Captains for the playoff race. The first-round draft pick spent the year with the short-season Mahoning Valley Scrappers, where he hit .270 through 36 games.
"I was excited, for sure," Naquin said. "My teammate, Wendle, he's been having an outstanding season as well. He hit some balls really good tonight, so I was excited we both could get up here and have this opportunity."
Next, the Captains travel to Bowling Green for the second game of the series on Thursday night. Lake County will turn to right-hander Mason Radeke (7-6, 3.38) to counter Hot Rods' lefty Ryan Carpenter (11-8, 4.09).
Stephanie is a crime and general assignment reporter for The Morning Journal in Lorain, Ohio. She’s an alumna of Cleveland State University with a degree in Journalism and Promotional Communication. You can follow her on Twitter @7thInningSteph.