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Loons win gritty series finale

Great Lakes Loons baseball

BELOIT, Wisc. – Marcus Chiu drew a bases loaded hit-by-pitch to break a 5-5 tie in the top of the ninth inning, and the Loons held on for a tightly-contested 6-5 victory over the Beloit Snappers on a stormy Wednesday afternoon at Pohlman Field.

The Loons avoided their fourth series sweep of the season and won their first game in Beloit since April 16, 2014. Great Lakes has now played in six straight one-run games and is 3-3 in that span.

The game was originally scheduled to start at 11 a.m. CDT, but a rain delay postponed first pitch until 12:46 p.m. A brief, but unexpected rain shower delayed the game further in the bottom of the fifth inning. The game played on through a total of two hours and 11 minutes of delays.

In addition to the weather, the Loons battled a resilient Beloit side that is 7-4 at Pohlman Field this season. The Snappers rallied from down 3-0 in the third inning and 5-3 in the later stages of the game. In the bottom of the eighth, an RBI single by Hunter Hargrove tied the game at 5-5.

The Loons grabbed the lead for good in the top of the ninth. Gersel Pitre and Moises Perez each singled to lead off the frame. Perez popped up a bunt that fortuitously landed in play up the first base line beyond the reach of pitcher Jared Poche and catcher Jorden Devencenzi. Brayan Morales, who doubled twice in the game, placed a much better bunt up the third base side and sacrificed Pitre and Perez into scoring position.

After Romer Cuadrado intentionally walked to load the bases, Poche struck out his final batter, Jared Walker, for the second out. Righty Heath Bowers emerged from the bullpen and worked a full count on Chiu before hitting him in the side on a payoff pitch. Chiu leads the Midwest League in times hit by a pitch with eight.

Aneurys Zabala worked around a one-out single in the bottom of the ninth, and Austin Beck, a top-10 prospect in the A’s system, bounced into a 3-6-3 double play to end the affair.

The Loons road trip continues on Thursday night against the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. First pitch is at 7:35 p.m. EDT.

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