The West Michigan Whitecaps nearly erased a five-run deficit on Sunday afternoon, but the Great Lakes Loons held on for a 7-4 victory in front of a 2,000-fan limited-capacity sellout at LMCU Ballpark.
The Whitecaps trailed 5-0 after five innings battled back by scoring four runs over the next two innings, highlighted by Bryant Packard’s first 2021 home run before the Loons’ Deacon Liput stroked a two-run single to provide much-needed insurance for Great Lakes. The loss gives the Loons a 4-2 series victory, as West Michigan misses an opportunity to collect a series split with the defeat.
The Loons opened the scoring in the fourth against ‘Caps starter Keider Montero, who struck out six Great Lakes batters in his first three innings on the mound. RBI-singles by Andrew Shaps and Ryan January preceded a run-scoring double from Miguel Vargas helped Great Lakes strike for four runs in the fourth. In the following frame, the Loons took advantage of a throwing error from West Michigan catcher Eliezer Alfonzo – one of three Alfonzo committed on Sunday – to score another run and take a 5-0 lead.
In the sixth, the Whitecaps tallied their first base hit of the afternoon when Packard slammed a ground ball into center field before Jose King’s RBI-single put West Michigan on the board at 5-1. An inning later, Packard highlighted a three-run outburst with West Michigan’s first home run coming with men on base – a two-run shot to bring the ‘Caps to within a run at 5-4. In the ninth, Whitecaps reliever Zack Hess allowed a pair of runs to score to put the contest out of reach.
Montero (0-3) suffered his third loss in as many starts by giving up four runs (all unearned) in four innings on eight hits, while Loons reliever Robinson Ortiz (2-1) tossed four no-hit innings while striking out four to get his second win of the series. The Whitecaps record falls to 4-7 while the Loons jump to 5-7. Packard led the way on offense for West Michigan, going 2-for-4 with the home run, a stolen base and two RBI.
The Whitecaps head west to face the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers to open six-game series beginning Tuesday at 7:35 pm. The Whitecaps send pitcher Garrett Hill to the mound Wisconsin pitcher Justin Jarvis. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty starts on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 7:20 pm. A limited number of tickets are available for select Whitecaps 2021 home contests by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.