The West Michigan Whitecaps bounced back from a 7-3 loss in game one of a doubleheader by pulling out a 4-2 victory in the nightcap over the Lake County Captains on Sunday at Classic Park.
After allowing seven runs in the game one defeat, the Whitecaps responded with a strong pitching performance coupled with home runs in each contest by Ulrich Bojarski to collect a much-needed victory.
Home runs were the story of game one as both teams launched a combined five blasts in a back-and-forth contest that saw four different lead changes. The Whitecaps struck for a pair in the top of the first inning as Ulrich Bojarski lifted a two-run homer to give West Michigan an early 2-0 advantage. Later in the frame, the Captains responded with a Ruben Cardenas two-run home run to tie the game at two. Jose King lined a solo-blast to right field in the second – his first of the year – to give the ‘Caps a 3-2 edge. The Whitecaps managed only two hits past the second inning as the Captains tallied five more runs highlighted by a Jesse Berardi two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth to hand West Michigan a 7-3 loss. Whitecaps starter Gio Arriera (2-3) went four innings allowing five runs to cross on five hits in his third loss of the year. Captains starter Thomas Ponticelli (2-0) tossed five innings allowing three runs on five hits in his second win, while reliever Kellen Rholl shut the door dealing two innings of hitless baseball on four strikeouts to secure the 7-3 Captains victory.
In the first inning of game two, Rey Rivera drew a bases-loaded walk to score a run before Daniel Reyes was hit by a pitch, plating Chris Proctor and giving the Whitecaps a 2-0 lead. The Captains responded by notching a tally in the second before Will Benson launched a home run – his 16th on the year and second on the day – to knot the game up at 2-2 in the fourth inning. The score remained tied until the sixth inning when Ulrich Bojarski belted his second home run of the day to forge the ‘Caps ahead 3-2. West Michigan tallied one more in the top of the seventh before Chris Proctor threw out Captains catcher Bo Naylor trying to steal second to end the contest and give the Whitecaps a 4-2 victory. Chance Kirby (1-2) tossed five innings allowing two runs on two hits while striking out seven in his first win of 2019. Jared Tobey came on in relief giving up three hits in 1.1 innings of work before Yaya Chentouf finished off the final two batters earning his third save of the year. The split of the doubleheader gives West Michigan a 20-37 record this season while the Captains move to 34-22.
The Whitecaps head home for a three-game series at Fifth Third Ballpark against the Dayton Dragons beginning Tuesday at 7:05 pm. Pitcher Adam Wolf gets the start for West Michigan against Dayton righty Ricky Salinas. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:55 pm. Tickets are available for any Whitecaps 2019 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.