April 29, 2014, EASTLAKE, OH (ISN) – Jonathon Crawford dazzled over six shutout innings to earn his first professional win on Tuesday night, leading the West Michigan Whitecaps to a 4-0 victory over the Lake County Captains at Classic Park.
It was the first shutout win of the season for West Michigan (13-12), who used four pitchers to throw a combined five-hitter and move back over the .500 mark. Lake County (7-18) lost for the 17th time in their last 20 games.
Crawford (1-1) set new career-highs for both strikeouts and innings pitched on Tuesday, dominating the Captains with seven punch-outs over six stifling innings. The 20th overall pick in the 2013 draft, Crawford allowed just three hits without issuing a walk and threw 52 of his 72 pitches for strikes. Since a bumpy Midwest League debut on April 4, the hard-throwing right-hander has allowed just one earned run over his last four starts for a 0.42 ERA during the impressive stretch.
Meanwhile, the offense used five extra-base hits to build a comfortable lead.
In the second inning, backup catcher Tim Remes drilled a two-out, two-run double to center field to put the Whitecaps on the board. In the fifth, Wynton Bernard doubled and scored on a base hit by Javier Betancourt to stretch the lead to 3-0.
Dominic Ficociello belted his first home run of the year in the sixth inning. On the first pitch thrown by reliever Matt Whitehouse, Ficociello blasted a towering solo shot that cleared the bleachers in left field for a 4-0 advantage.
After Crawford’s departure, the Whitecaps got scoreless innings of relief from Scott Sitz, Julio Felix and Joe Mantiply to complete the five-hit shutout. The pitching staff lowered its collective ERA to 2.75, the second-best number in the 16-team Midwest League.
Betancourt finished his night 2-for-4 to raise his batting average to .308. The 18-year-old prospect registered his 11th multi-hit game of the season, snapping a brief skid in which he went hitless in consecutive games for the first time all year.
Tyler Gibson was also 2-for-4, sparking the Whitecaps’ initial rally with a two-out single in the second and adding a double in the fourth inning.
Mitch Brown (0-4) took the loss for Lake County. Brown was charged with three runs on six hits over five innings and lost his fourth consecutive start.
The Whitecaps continue their seven-game road trip on Wednesday evening with a 6:30 p.m. first pitch against the Lake County Captains at Classic Park. RHP Buck Farmer (2-2, 2.38) is scheduled to pitch for West Michigan against LHP Luis Lugo (0-3, 6.06) of Lake County. The ‘Caps will be back at Fifth Third Ballpark on Monday, May 5, offering fans that present a church or community bulletin half-price reserved seats thanks to JQ99 FM. Season, group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps’ front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.