COMSTOCK PARK, MI – Detroit Tigers newly crowned top-15 prospect Reese Olson shined on the mound and catcher Cole MacLaren delivered the play of the night as the West Michigan Whitecaps split a doubleheader against the Dayton Dragons in front of 5,665 Friday night at LMCU Ballpark.
Olson, the Whitecaps newest player, matched his longest career start in his debut, going six shutout innings while striking out four Dayton hitters. Meanwhile, MacLaren delivered the biggest hit of the night, roping a walk-off hit in the tenth inning to give West Michigan a 4-3 victory.
In game one, Daniel Cabrera lifted a sacrifice fly in the third inning to score Gresuan Silverio and put the ‘Caps in front 1-0. Olson retired eight out of the nine ensuing Dayton hitters, keeping the West Michigan lead at 1-0. ‘Caps closer Zack Hess came on in the seventh but could not earn the save as Victor Ruiz lited a sacrifice fly to tie the game at 1-1. Both teams added individual tallies in the eighth and ninth frames, sending us into the tenth tied at 3-3. Whitecaps reliever Jared Tobey retired the Dragons in order before MacLaren plated Wenceel Perez on an RBI-single to send the ‘Caps on to a 4-3 walk-off winner.
West Michigan struck first in game two as Ulrich Bojarski roped a bases-clearing double to put the ‘Caps in front 3-0 in the second inning. The Dragons responded in the third as Mariel Bautista pounded a solo home run to slim the lead to 3-1. Rey Rivera plated Andrew Navigato on a sacrifice fly in the fourth before an errant throw from Dragons right fielder Bautista allowed Workman to score, extending the lead to 5-1. However, that’s all the offense West Michigan could muster as the Dragons exploded for six tallies through the fifth and sixth frames, running away with the 7-5 victory and a split of the Friday doubleheader.
Tobey (1-1) finished with a pair of strikeouts through one shutout inning, securing his first victory of 2021 as Angel Reyes (1-2) allowed four runs on a pair of hits while failing to record an out in his second defeat of the season in game two. Dayton reliever Pedro Garcia (6-4) tossed 1.2 innings in relief in game one, allowing two runs on two hits in his fourth loss this season. Dragons bullpen arm Andy Fisher (2-1) pitched 3.1 scoreless innings while striking out six West Michigan hitters in his second victory this year. The West Michigan Whitecaps need to win one of the final two contests against the Dragons to secure their first series victory since a sweep of the Lake County Captains back on May 30th.
The Whitecaps and Dragons continue their series from LMCU Ballpark on Saturday night at 7:05 pm. West Michigan sends pitcher Austin Bergner against Dragons pitcher Lyon Richardson. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty starts on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:50 pm. Get your tickets for all 2021 home games now at www.whitecapsbaseball.com.