MIDLAND, Mich. – With the bases loaded in the bottom of the seventh inning, Mitchell Hanson took a swing at a 2-1 pitch. The result was a grand slam, powering the Great Lakes Loons to a 10-5 victory over the West Michigan Whitecaps on Wednesday at Dow Diamond.
With the bases loaded and nobody out in the inning, Eric Peterson worked a six-pitch walk to drive in a run and keep the bases loaded for Hansen, who drove a grand slam to right-center field for a 9-4 Loons lead. It was the first grand slam of the season for Great Lakes and Hansen’s second long ball of the year.
Hansen finished the game 3-for-5 at the plate with five RBI and two runs scored. Other Loons to earn multi-hit games were Brandon Montgomery, Darrell Miller, Moises Perez and Peterson. While Great Lakes managed 14 hits, West Michigan tallied eight.
As the Whitecaps (32-34) did in game one of the series, they did score in the first inning. Reynaldo Rivera hit his 14th double of the season to center field. The 2017 second round pick by the Detroit Tigers drove in both Cole Peterson and Colby Bortles for a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom of the second, the Loons (24-40) got the runs back and took a 3-2 edge on a fielding error allowing Marcus Chiu to score, RBI single from Moises Perez and a sacrifice fly from Brayan Morales.
The Loons gave the lead back to the Whitecaps in the top of the fifth as Jose Azocar hit his first triple of the season to drive in Ulrich Bojarski and Jordan Pearce knocked in a run with a single to first base. With two runs batted in, West Michigan etched out a one-run margin.
Great Lakes starting pitcher Alfredo Tavarez went 5.0 innings in his sixth outing of the season. He allowed four runs on seven hits and one walk with three strikeouts. Tavarez turned the ball over to Dan Jagiello (W, 1-1), who carried the Loons with 3.0 perfect innings of relief. He lowered his ERA to 2.45.
Hansen ripped his third double of the season on the line drive to right field, scoring Eric Peterson and tying the game in the bottom of the sixth, 4-4. The game remained tied until the bottom of the seventh.
On the other side of the ball, West Michigan starter Jesus Rodriguez allowed four runs (three earned) on nine hits and two walks before getting pulled from the outing. He was relieved by Felix Viloria (L, 1-1), a left-hander.
After allowing the grand slam to Hansen, Viloria’s night was done on the mound. He turned the ball over to Clate Schmidt, who allowed two hits and pegged a batter to re-load the bases before escaping the inning.
The following inning featured another homer for the Loons. Chiu went deep on Tuesday and did it again Wednesday off Schmidt to center field, increasing his team’s lead to six runs. Chiu’s home run was his ninth of the season, tying him for second-most in the Midwest League.
Aneurys Zabala entered the game in the top of the ninth and allowed a run to the Whitecaps on a triple from Bojarski, but the Loons still held a 10-5 edge with two outs. Zabala got Cole Peterson to ground out to first base, ending the game.
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
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