COMSTOCK PARK, MI – Rey Rivera delivered a pair of majestic home runs as the West Michigan Whitecaps defeated the Peoria Chiefs by a score of 8-2 on Wednesday night at LMCU Ballpark.
Rivera became the first Whitecap to homer twice in a game since he accomplished the feat on July 27 at Great Lakes. The only other Whitecaps player to launch multiple homers in a 2021 game was Spencer Torkelson on May 29. Rivera collected a career-high five RBIs on two swings as Zac Shepherd tossed a season-long 6.1 frames allowing just one run on five punchouts in the Whitecaps victory.
Peoria managed only three hits through the first five innings. In the second inning, Rivera put West Michigan on the board, blasting a two-run homer to put the ‘Caps in front 2-0. Eliezer Alfonzo roped an RBI-single in the fourth before Rivera’s second homer, a three-run shot, extended the ‘Caps advantage to 6-0. In the fifth, West Michigan added a pair of insurance tallies as Austin Murr drew a bases-loaded walk before Alfonzo added his second RBI, making it an 8-0 ‘Caps lead. The Chiefs plated their first run in the seventh as Tyler Reichenborn pounded an RBI-single to slim the Whitecaps lead to 8-1. Matt Chamberlain added another run for the Chiefs in the 8th, but the comeback effort fell short as Sandel De La Cruz struck out the side in the ninth to put the finishing touches on a dominant 8-2 victory.
Shepherd (6-2) picked up his sixth victory on the season as Chiefs starting pitcher Mac Lardner (0-5) suffered his fifth loss, allowing eight runs through four innings and three punchouts in the defeat. The Whitecaps improve to 50-54 as the Chiefs fall to 39-65. Rivera sits just four home runs away from tying the single-season Whitecaps home run record – initially set by Kelly Hunt with 21 homers in the 2004 campaign. The Whitecaps need nine wins in their last 16 games to hit 2,000 wins in franchise history.
The Whitecaps and Peoria Chiefs continue their six-game series from LMCU Ballpark on Thursday at 7:05 pm. West Michigan sends lefty Jack O’Loughlin to the mound against the Connor Lunn. 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.