MIDLAND, Mich (WLMI) The Lansing Lugnuts (30-27, 77-49) were denied in their initial bid for a record-tying win, falling 9-8 to the Great Lakes Loons (25-34, 59-71) on a Joe Winker RBI infield single in the bottom of the 10thinning at Dow Diamond on Thursday night.
In the 10th, with Lansing reliever Brandon Berl (Loss, 3-7) on the mound, speedster James Baldwin scored the game-winning run from second with two outs. Winker slapped a grounder up the middle that was fielded by a spinning Lugnuts shortstop Shane Opitz. The throw to first was late and pulled K.C. Hobson off the bag. Baldwin continued sprinting around third base and scored ahead of Hobson’s throw to the plate.
The Lugnuts remain one victory shy of the franchise single-season record of 78, set in 2007.
Lansing held an 8-7 lead before the Loons tied the game in the bottom of the ninth off Lugnuts closer Ajay Meyer. With two outs, the Loons collected two singles before Scott Schebler scored the equalizer from third on a wild pitch.
There were six lead changes, 21 combined hits and four errors in the three-hour and 42-minute contest.
The Lugnuts offense posted three multi-run innings. Chris Hawkins smashed a three-run homer in the third inning. In the sixth, Kevin Patterson drove his 17th home run of the year out to right field, which is good for third in the Midwest League. Shane Opitz went 2-for-5 with a run scored and a pair of RBI. Andy Fermin lashed a double and scored twice.
Lugnuts starter Anthony DeSclafani went 4 1/3 innings, surrendered seven hits, walked one and struck out five. The righty allowed six runs, four of which were earned.
Loons starter Raydel Sanchez went four innings, gave up five hits, allowed six runs, walked a pair and struck out two.
Great Lakes reliever Daniel Carela (Win, 1-0) faced just one batter, Chris Schaeffer, whom he struck out in the top of the 10th inning to strand two Lugnuts baserunners.
The rubber match of the three-game series and finale of the seven-game road trip is Friday, August 24th at 7:05 p.m. Blake McFarland (5-4, 5.29) will start for the Lugs. Gustavo Gomez (7-8, 5.78).
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.