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Lake County Sentinel
Captains shoot down River Bandits 9-4 
​        BY TIM SHIRER
Sunday afternoon at Classic Park the Lake County Captains finished up their three game series with the Quad Cities River Bandits. The Lake County bats came alive as the Captains pounded the River Bandits 9-4 in front of 4,393 fans.

The game was scoreless until the fifth inning, when the Captains offense exploded for five runs. Four of the runs came courtesy of a grand slam home run by Willi Castro. The home run for Castro was his sixth of the season. Nathan Lukes followed the grand slam up with a solo home run. The home run for Lukes was his fifth of the season and third of the series.

The Captains added another run in the sixth inning when Sam Haggerty reached on a fielder's choice and was driven home when David Armendariz doubled to left field giving the Captains a 6-0 lead.

The River Bandits got on the board in the seventh inning off Captains reliever Kenny Matthews.

Then in the eighth inning after Christian Meister replaced Matthews to start the inning he allowed three runs and did not make it out of the inning and was replaced by righty Devon Stewart to get the final out of the inning. The appearance was Stewart's first as a Captain.

The Captains added three more runs in the eighth inning. The first run came on an RBI single by Armendariz. Then the big blow in the inning came when Castro singled to right field with the bases loaded driving in the final two runs of the game, giving Lake County a 9-4 advantage.

Castro tallied six RBI in the game, which is a career high. Armendariz and Li-Jen Chu both went 3 for 4 on the day. Chu has played three games with Lake County and is 6 for 9.  

The Captains took the series 2-1. The series win for Lake County is the first since they swept Fort Wayne July 1-3.

Both starting pitchers factored in the decision. Lake County starter Matt Esparza picked up the win, pitching six scoreless innings allowing only four hits, while striking out seven River Bandits. With the win Esparza improves to 8-6 with a 3.09 ERA. Righty Chris Murphy took the loss for the River Bandits. Murphy pitched five innings allowing five runs all earned. He gave eight hits, issued two base on balls while striking out one batter. The loss drops Murphy to 3-6 with a 4.52 ERA.

With the win the Captains move out of last place in the Eastern Division and into sixth place out of eight teams. The Captains have struggled recently but are at the moment only five and a half games out of the final second half playoff spot.

The Captains will begin a three game series in Beloit, Wisconsin against the Beloit Snappers on Wednesday night at 8:00 p.m. Righthander Brock Hartson will be on the mound for the Captains. Beloit’s pitcher is to be announced
tshirer@lakecountysentinel.com or follow Tim on Twitter @IndiansTim Check out our IndiansNation fan page
​POSTED 07/17/2016 16:42