The West Michigan Whitecaps offense took advantage of two four-run innings and defeated the Quad City River Bandits 9-5 in the first game of a three-game series in front of 5,595 fans Wednesday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The Whitecaps tallied four runs in the first inning and came through with another four-run frame in the sixth to re-take the lead and take the victory, snapping a four-game losing streak.
The big first for the Whitecaps came from a Dayton Dugas grand slam home run off starter Jonathan Bermudez. The blast marked Dugas’ first of the season and first as a Whitecap to provide an early 4-0 lead.
An Andre Lipcius RBI-double in the second increased the advantage to 5-0 as the Whitecaps Wilkel Hernandez shut out the River Bandits through the first two frames. After giving up a run in the third, Hernandez was chased from the game with one out in the fourth inning and a 5-3 advantage. ‘Caps reliever Sandel De La Cruz entered the game and surrendered a two-run double, tying the contest at five before West Michigan rallied in the sixth. After Nick Quintana began the inning with a single, Dugas brought Quintana home with a run-producing double as the ‘Caps took the lead back at 6-5. Wenceel Perez continued the inning by driving in a run in with a single, and a Lipcius grounder brought home another run. The second four-run inning increased the Whitecaps lead to 9-5. The Whitecaps bullpen performed well over the final four innings, allowing only two singles and two walks to close out the victory.
The five-RBI game by Dugas represents a career high for Dugas and the most by any Whitecap in the 2019 season. The Dugas grand slam was the first for a Whitecap at Fifth Third Ballpark since August 10th, 2017 when Chad Sedio hit a grand slam as part of a 10-9 win in eleven innings. The Whitecaps outhit the River Bandits 11-10 as Ulrich Bojarski and Perez joined Dugas with two hits, and the nine runs were the most for the ‘Caps since a 15-1 win over Dayton on June 26th. De La Cruz (1-3) picked up the win, allowing an earned run and three hits in 1.2 innings of work. Hansel Paulino (0-1) pitched nearly an inning in taking his first loss of 2019, giving up three hits and four runs, three unearned. West Michigan improved to 8-11 in the second half and 29-59 on the season. The loss for Quad Cities increased their losing streak to a season-high five game, as they fell to 53-31 overall and 10-8 in the second half.
The Whitecaps continue this three-game series against the Quad Cities River Bandits Thursday night from Fifth Third Ballpark at 7:05 pm. Righty Robbie Welhaf starts for West Michigan against the Quad Cities River Bandits Brett Daniels. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Mike Coleman 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 visitingwww.whitecapsbaseball.com.