LANSING, Mich (WLMI) The Lansing Lugnuts (11-8, 58-30) were able to withstand a five-run, eighth-inning comeback bid by the Quad Cities River Bandits (11-8, 46-42) in an 8-7 series-opening victory on Wednesday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
Lugs reliever Phil Brua tossed a scoreless seventh inning before allowing two runs on three consecutive, one-out hits in the eighth. Brandon Berl then entered the ball game and gave up an RBI single to Juan Castillo and a two-run double to David Medina but induced a pair of ground outs to strand the potential game-tying run in scoring position.
Lugnuts starter Justin Nicolino delivered a career-high six innings of work while allowing just two runs, six hits, walking none and striking out five.
Lansing backed Nicolino’s performance with three multi-run innings and twelve hits.
The first of the multi-run innings came in the third inning. The River Bandits’ starter Sam Gaviglio (Loss, 5-6) walked three lugs to lead-off the four-run third inning. Kevin Patterson (1-for-4) smashed an RBI single. K.C. Hobson (3-for-5, three RBI) smashed a two-run double before Shane Opitz (0-for-4) delivered a sac fly to cap the rally.
Gaviglio could not get out of the fourth inning, his shortest outing of the year. The righty surrendered six runs, a career-high six walks and six hits while striking out just two.
Kevin Pillar was 2-for-3 with a pair of RBI, a double, two walks and a run scored. Chris Hawkins reached in four of his five plate appearances and scored three runs. Carlos Perez walked twice and tattooed his fifth home run of the year to lead off the sixth inning.
Ajay Meyer pitched around a two-out single in the ninth to record his Minor League-leading 24th save of the year.
On Thursday, July 12th, at 7:05 p.m. the Lugnuts will send Aaron Sanchez (8-0, 0.72) to the mound against the River Bandits’ lefty Hector Hernandez (5-5, 4.41). It is a Thirsty Thursday presented by Labatt Blue Light featuring $2 soda and beer specials. Tickets are available for purchase online at www.lansinglugnuts.com, at the stadium box office, and by calling 517-485-4500.