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Jace Jung homers again; Troy Melton leaves game with an injury; Lakeland one victory from the postseason

Scores, news, and notes from the Detroit Tigers’ farm system for Thursday, September 7, 2023.

Indianapolis Indians 4, Toledo Mud Hens 1 (box)

Jack O’Loughlin struggled a bit in his outing, and the offense just couldn’t convert their chances despite drawing seven walks in this one.

MLB veteran Chris Owings opened the scoring in the bottom of the third by taking O’Loughlin deep to lead off the inning. A walk, a double, and a single later, and the Indians held a 3-0 lead.

Despite baserunners in almost every inning, the Hens didn’t get on the board until Donny Sands doubled with one out in the seventh. Michael Papierski struck out on a wild pitch but reached first, with Sands taking third. Nick Maton struck out, but Justyn-Henry Malloy walked to load the bases for Colt Keith. Keith drove a single into center field, but only Sands scored on the play. Eddys Leonard struck out to end the threat.

Rony Garcia allowed a run in the bottom half for the final score.

Keith: 2-4, RBI, BB, 2 K

Maton: 2-5, K

Sands: 1-3, R, 2B, BB

O’Loughlin(L, 3-6): 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 7 H, 2 BB, 2 K

Coming Up Next: RHP Keider Montero (3-1, 6.48 ERA) looks to settle in with the Hens as he takes on RHP Jared Jones (3-4, 7.54 ERA) at 7:05 p.m. ET.

Erie SeaWolves 4, Somerset Patriots 3 (box)

Jace Jung continued his epic power display of late, and the SeaWolves held on to win on Thursday night.

Veteran minor league starters Lael Lockhart and Bryan Sammons switched places for this one, with Lockhart coming back down from Toledo. He was uncharacteristically wild in this one, walking five, but he kept the damage under control.

The SeaWolves had a scoring opportunity in the second but couldn’t cash in. However, in the third, Ben Malgeri launched his 12th home run to give Erie a 1-0 lead. The next batter was Luis Santana, and he did the same, hitting number 13 on the year to make it 2-0.

That was quite a show of force from the SeaWolves’ offense, and Jace Jung, fresh off back-to-back two-homer nights, wanted in on it. He launched deep to right field for his fifth homer in his last 11 plate appearances.

A throwing error from catcher Alfonzo Rubalcaba and a pair of walks and a hit batter from Lockhart allowed the Patriots to score twice in the bottom of the fourth, but Lockhart steadied the ship and Bryce Tassin took in the sixth and spun a clean seventh as well.

In the top of the eighth, Jake Holton singled with one out and Corey Joyce was hit by a pitch. Danny Serretti walked to load the bases, and Holton scored on a Daniel Cabrera ground out to make it 4-2 SeaWolves.

Tassin allowed a run in the bottom half, but Blake Holub had no trouble collecting his seventh save.

Jung: 1-4, R, RBI, HR, BB, SO

Malgeri: 1-5, R, RBI, HR

Serretti: 1-2, 2 BB

Lockhart (W, 5-2): 5.2 IP, 2 R, ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 7 K

Coming Up Next: It’s a 6:35 p.m. ET start on Friday night. RHP Ty Madden (3-4, 3.67 ERA) takes on RHP Blane Abeyta (8-7, 5.71 ERA).

Erie leads the series 2-1, and holds a half game lead in the division over the Richmond Flying Squirrels, who they’ll welcome into UPMC Park next week for six to close out the year. Pretty fun stretch drive on tap.

Great Lakes Loons 5, West Michigan Whitecaps 4 (box)

The Whitecaps lost, but what was worse was Troy Melton leaving the game with an injury in the fifth. Melton has been the breakout star among the Tigers’ pitching prospects this year, arguably sitting right behind Jackson Jobe as their second best young arm.

Melton looked fine through two innings, but the third opened with two singles, a walk, and a bases clearing triple. A sac fly made it 4-0 Loons before Melton was able to settle things down.

Austin Murr led off the bottom half of the third with a solo shot, his fifth home run on the year, to make it 4-1 Loons.

Melton appeared to be feeling just fine until a pickoff throw in the fifth. He shook his arm out after that one, and threw only one more pitch before it was clear something was bothering him. There were no obvious indications of pain, but Melton knew something wasn’t right and departed with the trainer. Didn’t look terribly serious, but there’s no way to tell much from that. Either way, that’s probably an unfortunate way for his season to end.

In the sixth, Luke Gold singled with one out. Gage Workman struck out, but they were just getting started. Andrew Jenkins singled to right, and Izaac Pacheco, perking up finally in recent weeks, mashed his 11th of the season to tie the game.

Unfortunately, Erick Pinales allowed a run in the top of the seventh, and while the Whitecaps got two on in the eighth, they couldn’t get a run across and went quietly in the ninth.

Gold: 2-4, R

Pacheco: 2-4, R, 3 RBI, HR, 2 K

Melton: 4.0 IP, 4 ER, 6 H, 2 BB, 3 K

Coming Up Next: LHP Carlos Pena (4-6, 3.29 ERA) gets the ball at 6:35 p.m. ET on Friday night at LMCU Ballpark. LHP Maddux Bruns (0-6, 4.93 ERA) starts for the Loons.

Lakeland Flying Tigers 8, Tampa Tarpons 6 (box)

The Flying Tigers needed to take it to Tampa to lock up the second half division title and a playoff spot in their final series of the season. Second place Bradenton lost on Thursday and is now three games back, so the 42-21 Flying Tigers need just one more victory over Tampa to get the job done.

They made it three in a row in this one.

Max Clark walked with one out in the first, and stole second base, scoring on a Jim Jarvis single back up the middle. 1-0 Lakeland. In the third, Clayton Campbell led off with the triple and scored on a Kevin McGonigle single. Clark walked again, and after a pitching change and a flyout from Jarvis, Max Anderson lined a single to load the bases. Jose De La Cruz struck out, but Josue Briceno drew a walk to force in their third run. Cristian Santana also walked to force in Clark. A passed ball scored Anderson, and it was 5-0 Lakeland.

A McGonigle error and a tough inning for Joe Miller allowed the Tarpons to score three and close the gap. Eric Mendez allowed two more runs in the sixth, and the game was tied at 5-5.

Finally in the eighth, the Flying Tigers broke it open again. Briceno led off with a double and Santana walked again. A pair of wild pitches scored Briceno and got Santana to third. Brett Callahan drew a walk and then stole second base before Campbell walked as well to load the bases. McGonigle then drew another walk to force in the second run of the inning. A Max Clark grounder forced Callahan at home, but Jarvis lifted a sacrifice fly to score Campbell and it was 8-5 Lakeland. The bullpen leaked a run in the ninth, but no more.

Briceno: 2-3, R, RBI, 2 2B, BB

McGonigle: 2-3, R, 2 RBI, 2 BB, 2 SB

Campbell: 1-3, 2 R, 3B, BB

Clark: 0-3, 2 R, 2 BB, 2 K, SB

Coming Up Next: It’s a 6:30 p.m. ET start in Lakeland as the Flying Tigers look to lock in a postseason spot with a victory or a Bradenton loss, or both.