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Captains get blanked 1-0

Captains get blanked 1-0
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EASTLAKE – The Lake County Captains fell short in the first of a three-game series as Tommy Collier tossed a complete game 1-0 shutout for the West Michigan Whitecaps.

Right-hander Joe Colon (5-4, 2.93) took the bump for the Captains against West Michigan righty Tommy Collier (2-4, 3.04). Colon was coming off a strong six-inning showing, during which he allowed just five hits and two runs at West Michigan. From the opposing dugout, Collier’s last start against Lake County was a bumpy outing as he surrendered six runs on five hits and four walks in just 1.2 innings of work.

This time, Collier adjusted and sunk the Captains in a well-fought pitchers’ duel. Both pitchers were locked in as they each tossed five innings of scoreless ball, until the Captains hiccupped in the sixth.

Second baseman Brandon Loy reached base with one out in the Whitecaps’ half of the sixth on a fielding error by Captains’ second baseman Todd Hankins. Loy went on to score as shortstop Eugenio Suarez and right fielder Steven Moya laced back-to-back singles, giving West Michigan a 1-0 lead on an unearned run.

That ended the evening for Colon, who, despite piecing together another solid outing, received the loss. Colon’s final line consisted of six innings pitched, relinquishing one unearned run on seven hits while striking out two.

Colon was replaced with Grant Sides in the seventh. Sides remained concrete through three innings of work as he completed the remainder of the game, surrendering just one hit while fanning four. Wednesday’s outing dropped Sides’ ERA to 1.07, having allowed just 14 hits and three runs though 14 appearances.

Meanwhile, Collier continued to dominate the Lake County line-up. The Captains made an offensive effort in the seventh inning as designated hitter Alex Lavisky led off with a single to center and first baseman Jerrud Sabourin drew a walk. However, the Captains could not come through as catcher Alex Monsalve failed to execute a sacrifice bunt, which cut down the lead runner at third. With one out, third baseman Leonardo Castillo grounded into a force play and left fielder Jordan Cases lined out, leaving the Captains with no runs to show for their effort.

Collier cruised through the eighth inning and sat down three straight Captains with three strikeouts in the ninth to seal his first career complete game and the Whitecaps with a 1-0 win.

Lake County manager David Wallace was impressed with Collier’s performance, but also noted that his team didn’t help itself.

“You have to give Collier a lot of credit,” WalIace said. “I thought he threw the ball really well and bounced back from his last start against us. I thought we did him some favors by swinging at some pitches early in counts that we couldn’t do much damage on, but he threw a really nice game.”

Wallace also said that the Captains swung at too many early pitches, which hurt their chances later in the game. “It’s not that we don’t want them swinging early,” Wallace said, “But you’d better put your A-swing on it if you’re going to swing early, because that’s how pitchers pitch deep in the game. They get early outs like that. The goal of our offense each game is to get the starter out as early as we can.”

Despite dropping three straight games, Wallace said he is not too concerned or disappointed in his team’s efforts. “A letdown to me would be if our guys quit on us or stopped working hard,” he said. “It’s just normal ebb and flow of the full season, and that’s all part of the learning process for these guys.”

The complete game shutout was the first of Collier’s career and the first shutout at Classic Park since July 24, 2010. Collier, a Texas native, said he pitched to contact and trusted his stuff more.

Despite the Whitecaps’ decision to start warming relief pitcher Daniel Bennett, Collier said he took little notice. “It wasn’t a concern. It’s not my call to make if I stay in or get out of a ball game. I just do my job as long as I’m out there and that’s what I was focused on.” Collier’s final line on Wednesday posted at nine innings of scoreless ball, yielding four hits and one walk while striking out seven.

Next, Cody Anderson (4-2, 2.40) will pitch for the Captains against West Michigan’s Kyle Ryan (1-2, 3.77) in an 11:00 morning game on Thursday. Anderson surrendered a season-high eight hits in his last outing, where he received a no-decision after tossing 4.2 innings. Ryan is a 6’5” lefty who is coming off a no-decision in which he allowed four runs through 5.1 innings.

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.

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