Eastlake, Ohio — The Lake County Captains opened their 2018 campaign Thursday with a comeback victory against the Fort Wayne TinCaps in a pitching battle, 3-2. The Captains start the season 1-0.
Captains starting pitcher Elijah Morgan, who split time between the starting rotation and bullpen last season with the Mahoning Valley Scrappers, proved why he belongs in the rotation with six innings of one-run baseball. The TinCaps lone run off Morgan was unearned and came via a Jorma Rodriguez throwing error in the fourth inning.
After the game, Manager Luke Carlin said that the plan is to keep Morgan in the starting rotation.
Morgan did not issue a walk and recorded eight strikeouts in his Captains debut.
Unfortunately for the Captains, TinCaps starter Nick Margevicius matched him pitch-for-pitch, and then some. The TinCaps hurler spun 5 2/3 innings of no-hit baseball before Austen Wade connected for the Captains first hit, a bloop single into center field. Wade finished the game 1-for-2 with a walk.
The Wade single knocked Margevicius out of the game, but he failed to score.
The TinCap bullpen picked up where Margevicius left off, as left hander Ben Sheckler iced the Captains’ bats with 2 2/3 scoreless and hitless innings of his own. Sheckler struggled with command, as he walked four batters, but he did not allow the Captains to build any momentum.
The TinCaps tagged on an insurance run in the ninth thanks to a James Karinchak wild pitch, to extend the TinCaps lead to 2-0.
The Captains finally found a way to get a run across in the ninth as four walks allowed the Captains to collect their first run of the season. Ulysses Cantu drew a four-pitch-walk to earn the RBI.
TinCaps reliever Jordan Guerrero’s first pitch in relief went to the backstop, allowing Will Benson to score the tying run. Jose Medina followed that with just the second hit of the night for Captains, which scored the winning run.
“This is a prime example of our team,” Benson said after the game. “We never give up.”
Despite four errors and seven hits allowed, the Captains pitching staff was sharp, combining for 13 strikeouts and just one earned runs.
“Both sides threw well,” Carlin said. “It was a little slow getting going, but it was nice to make things happen.”
The Captains return to action tomorrow at home for the second game of the two-game set with the TinCaps.
Photo by Matthew Johns