The West Michigan Whitecaps manufactured only five hits and could not take advantage of two significant scoring opportunities as they were shut out 1-0 by the Quad Cities River Bandits in front of 7,244 fans Thursday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
In their best opportunity of the ballgame, the Whitecaps left the bases loaded in the fifth inning. Two innings later the ‘Caps had runners at second and third with only one out but could not get score the tying run and took the loss, the seventh time in 2019 they have been blanked by a 1-0 score.
Robbie Welhaf made his first start in almost two weeks for the Whitecaps and took an early 1-0 deficit after giving up up a run in the first inning on two singles. After that first frame, Welhaf allowed only three base runners over the next five innings, one of them on a fielding error. Meanwhile, the ‘Whitecaps managed base runners in the first three innings off River Bandits starter Brett Daniels but came away empty. The fifth inning started in a big way for the ‘Caps. Parker Meadows and Wenceel Perez walked, and Andre Lipcius hit an infield single to load the bases with two outs. Bryant Packard popped out to end the best threat of the night for the Whitecaps. Trailing 1-0 in the seventh, Meadows singled, and Rey Rivera walked to start the inning for the ‘Caps. A Perez sacrifice bunt put runners at second and third with only one out, but Chris Proctor struck out, and Andre Lipcius closed out another lost opportunity with a ground out to end the rally. River Bandits closer Devin Conn struck out five of the last six Whitecaps batters to seal the win and tie up the three-game series at one win each. West Michigan has been shutout ten times this season, and Quad Cities picked up their Midwest League-leading 14th shutout of the year. Lipcius tallied two of the five’ Caps hits in the loss.
Welhaf (2-4) deserved better, pitching six innings, scattering three singles and striking out four in taking his fourth loss. Drew Crosby was reliable out of the Whitecaps bullpen, tossing three innings of two-hit, shutout baseball. Daniels (4-4) evened his record with the win for Quad Cities, pitching a season-high seven innings, allowing five hits, relinquishing three walks and striking out two. The Whitecaps drop to 29-60 overall and 8-12 in the second half. Quad Cities broke a season-high five game slide and improved to 54-31, the best record in the Midwest League.
The Whitecaps conclude this three-game series against the Quad Cities River Bandits Friday night from Fifth Third Ballpark at 7:05 pm. Pitcher Chance Kirby starts for West Michigan against the Quad Cities River Bandits R.J. Freure. 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.