MIDLAND, Mich. – It didn’t take much. Just a couple runs in the 2nd inning was enough for the Great Lakes Loons as they prevailed 4-1 over the West Michigan Whitecaps on Monday night in front of a sell-out crowd of 5,214 to kick off the Fourth of July holiday celebrations.
Coupled with a strong start from A.J. Alexy, the Loons offense used some timely hitting to earn a split in the four-game series against one of the best teams in Minor League Baseball.
One of the standout players in the starting rotation since Opening Day, the right-hander Alexy (W, 2-2) threw five shutout frames on just two hits to go along with five strikeouts for Great Lakes (7-5, 43-38). Drafted last year by the Los Angeles Dodgers in the 11th round, Alexy lowered his ERA to 2.47 with his second scoreless outing in a row.
Carlos Rincon singled and Oneil Cruz followed with a walk to begin the 2nd for the Loons. That’s when Mitchell Hansen and Stevie Berman took care of the rest with back-to-back singles to plate Rincon and Cruz to put the Loons in front 2-0 early.
After Alexy cruised through his five innings, Logan Crouse (H, 1) made his season debut on the mound over the next three frames as he allowed the lone West Michigan run on just three hits. Christian Stolo (SV, 1) came on in the 9th and allowed just one baserunner, Anthony Pereira who singled, before closing out the game.
Seven different Loons each got a single hit while Rincon, Cruz, Hansen and Berman each drove in one run. Anthony Castro, one of the best pitchers in the Midwest League, took the loss for West Michigan (9-3, 54-25) to fall to 6-2 on the season.
The Loons now head on the road for a seven-game road trip that will see them play three games against the South Bend Cubs, followed by four in Kentucky against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. They’ll return to Dow Diamond on July 12 and begin a six-game homestand.
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