Geneva, Ill. – The Great Lakes Loons broke a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning on centerfielder Anfernee Grier’s error, and Mitchell Hansen’s two-out, ninth inning home run helped the Loons pull away from Kane County 4-1 on an overcast Tuesday afternoon at Northwestern Medicine Field.
The win for the Loons (14-18) ties the series with Kane County (17-12), and snaps a seven-game losing streak for Great Lakes on the road. The Loons had also lost their last 13 games on the road against the Midwest League Western Division.
Left-handed starting pitcher Leo Crawford (W, 2-2) pitched brilliantly for his second start in a row. One day after he was named Midwest League Pitcher of the Week, Crawford threw six innings with one run and four hits allowed. He struck out five and did not surrender a walk. The 20-year-old has thrown consecutive quality starts, and has won both outings.
The Loons faced an uphill battle against Kane County starter Sam McWilliams. The righty allowed one run on two hits over six innings, and at one point retired 10 straight batters.
Great Lakes did strike in the first inning on a delayed double steal with runners on first and third. Although Cody Thomas was caught stealing at second base, Zach McKinstry scored before the third out was recorded, and the Loons forged ahead 1-0.
Kane County leveled the score in the bottom of the second on lefty Jazz Chisholm’s RBI single to right, but the Cougars registered two hits the rest of the ballgame.
The Loons threatened, but did not score until the seventh inning. With two outs and Brendon Davis on first base, a Mitchell Hansen pop-up to short center was dropped by Grier, enabling Davis to score from first. Despite overcast skies for much of the game, the sun nearly broke through moments before the Hansen pop-up, and the playing conditions brightened considerably (in the Loons case, figuratively as well).
Another Kane County error sparked the Loons offense in the ninth inning. A high throw from Chisholm at short allowed Oneil Cruz to reach, and bring Hansen to bat. On the 10th pitch from righty Sam Lewis, Hansen drove the ball over the right field fence for his first Loons home run and 12th of his career.
The insurance runs helped right-hander Patrick Duester’s cause, who earned his first save for the Loons. Righty reliever Tyler Mark (1-1) suffered the loss for Kane County.
The Loons attempt to deliver their third straight series win in another day game from Northwestern Medicine Field on Wednesday afternoon. First pitch is at noon eastern with pregame coverage underway at 11:30 a.m. on ESPN 100.9-FM.
The 2016 Midwest League Champions and hosts of the 2017 MWL All-Star Game presented by GoGreat.com have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. For tickets and more information about the Great Lakes Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
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