The Great Lakes Loons swept the West Michigan Whitecaps at Fifth Third Ballpark to start the season back in April. Since then, things weren’t going to plan. Entering play Thursday, the Loons were 2-9 in their last 11 games against West Michigan. Monday saw things change as a 5-1 victory was in the cards for Great Lakes at Dow Diamond.
Despite the victory, the Whitecaps (70-62, 37-26) picked up the first run of the ballgame right out of the gate in the 1st inning when Michael Gerber sent his 12th home run of the season over the wall in right field, a solo shot making it 1-0. But, that would be the only blemish on starter Andrew Sopko’s ledger.
The right-hander was done after five innings and allowed one run on three hits en route to picking up the win. Sopko (2-1) did not walk a batter and recorded four strikeouts.
The Loons would bounce back in the 5th inning with a long ball of their own from Logan Landon. After Michael Ahmed singled with two outs, Landon took Whitecaps starter Artie Lewicki deep for his 2nd home run of the season.
“The at-bat before played a big part because he threw me that curveball and I rolled over on it,” Landon said. “I knew at some point he was going to come back to that curveball, so I was just trying to fight off pitches until he went back to that pitch and I was able to put a good swing on it.”
The damage was done against Lewicki (3-4) after he allowed two runs on five hits in five innings of work in a losing effort. He did set down seven Loons hitters on strikes.
Three more runs in the top of the 7th would put the game to bed for the Loons (65-65, 27-35). Ahmed reached base once again, this time starting the inning with a walk. He late came around to score on a single by Matt Beaty. Justin Chigbogu and Nick Sell also drove in runs in the inning to extend the lead.
“That was my first win here playing against the Whitecaps and they have a really good pitching staff,” said Landon, who went 3-for-5 on the night. “But I think we’re really starting to play some good baseball as the playoffs get closer and we played really well today. Getting a win against those guys so late in the season really shows that we’re getting ready for the playoffs in the right way.”
Brian Wolfe was able to extend his hitting streak to 19 games with a single off Whitecaps reliever Trey Teakell in the 7th inning. It’s the longest streak in the Midwest League this season and is now tied for the second-longest in Loons history with Eduardo Perez (2007). Wolfe would need to get hits in consecutive games through Saturday’s matchup at Dow Diamond against West Michigan to tie the franchise record held by Brian Cavazos-Galvez (2010).
Isaac Anderson is set to get the start for the Loons in the series finale Tuesday. The 21-year-old right-hander is 1-2 with a 2.25 earned run average in seven starts for Great Lakes. He’s appeared in 16 games since being drafted by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 40th round in June. Spencer Turnbull is slated to toe the rubber for the Whitecaps.
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