MIDLAND, Mich (WLMI) Jason Leblebijian delivered three hits in his Lansing Lugnuts’ (30-26, 77-48) debut in support of five dazzling innings from Justin Nicolino in a 7-1 triumph over the Great Lakes Loons (24-34, 58-70) at Dow Diamond on Wednesday night at Dow Diamond.
The win brings the Lugnuts to within one of the franchise single-season all-time wins record of 78.
Nicolino (Win, 9-4) did not allow a hit until a two-out bloop single by O’Koyea Dickson in the fourth inning. The Lugnuts lefty gave up just two hits in five scoreless innings in which he struck out five and walked two.
The Lugnuts pounded out 13 hits and four doubles in the series-opening victory. Leblebijian scored twice and drove in a run with an RBI double in Lansing’s four-run fourth inning. Shane Opitz scored a pair of runs and added a two-RBI double in the fourth.
Lansing jumped on the board early against Loons starter Arismendy Ozoria (Loss, 8-8) with three runs in the first two innings. Ozoria left the game after throwing his warm-up tossed for the third inning with an apparent shoulder injury. Nick Baligod (2-for-5) scored in the first after a leadoff double and an error by Loons leftfielder Nick Akins. Chris Schaeffer added a two-RBI double in the second inning.
In three innings of one-run work out of the Lugnuts bullpen, Shawn Griffith allowed just two hits including a solo home run to Jeff Hunt.
Casey Beck tossed a scoreless ninth to secure the Lugnuts win.
The middle affair of the three-game series is Thursday, August 22nd at 7:05 p.m. The Lugnuts will send Anthony DeSclafani (10-3, 2.96) to the mound. Raydel Sanchez (3-8, 4.39) is scheduled to start for Great Lakes.
The Lugs return home to Cooley Law School Stadium for Lugnut Charities Night on Saturday, August 25th, opening a four-game series against the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.lansinglugnuts.com, at the Cooley Law School Stadium box office, and by calling 517-485-4500.