DAYTON, OH (WLMI) Three errors by the Lansing Lugnuts (23-15, 70-37) led to a pair of unearned runs in a 4-2 loss to the Dayton Dragons (15-23, 45-63) on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Field.
After winning all ten first-half contests against the Dragons, the Lugnuts have lost the first two games of this four-game series.
Justin Nicolino (Loss, 7-3) gave up one earned in the first inning after allowing the first three base runners to reach. Two throwing errors by Gustavo Pierre and Chris Peters then extended the inning and allowed two unearned runs to come across and score.
Nicolino settled in nicely after the first and did not allow hit the rest of the way. He did not walk a batter, struck out four and gave up just two hits in five innings of work.
The Lugnuts offense, which led the Midwest League with a team batting average of .286 in July, was stifled by three Dragons pitchers.
2011 first round pick Robert Stephenson (Win, 2-0) tossed five innings of one-hit ball for Dayton, while walking none and striking out five. Michael Crouse smashed a tape-measure solo home run off of Stephenson in the third inning which accounted for the Lugnuts only run off the right hander.
El’Hajj Muhammad tossed two innings and allowed just one unearned run when K.C. Hobson delivered an RBI single that scored Chris Hawkins who had moved into scoring position on a passed ball. Hobson ranks second in the Midwest League with 68 RBI.
Dragons reliever Mike Dennhardt (Save, 1) allowed just one hit and did not allow a run in the eighth nor the ninth innings.
The third game of the four-game series in Dayton is scheduled for 7:07 p.m. on Thursday, August 2nd. The Lugnuts will send Anthony DeSclafani (9-3, 3.16) to the mound. Rehabbing major leaguer Nick Masset of the Cincinnati Reds will start for the Dragons.
The Lugnuts return home to begin a seven-game homestand on Saturday, August 4th against the West Michigan Whitecaps featuring Classic Car Night and LAFCU Fireworks. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.lansinglugnuts.com, at the Cooley Law School Stadium box office, and by calling 517-485-4500.