FT. WAYNE (WLMI) Kevin Patterson smashed a three-run eighth inning home run to power the Lansing Lugnuts (46-20) to a come-from-behind 5-4 victory over the Fort Wayne TinCaps (31-36) on Thursday night at Parkview Field.
The Lugnuts trailed 4-1 entering the seventh, but Shane Opitz (2-for-3, walk) flipped a two-out, two-strike RBI single into centerfield.
In the three-run eighth inning, Andy Burns and K.C. Hobson singled against Chris Haney (Loss, 0-2) before Patterson whacked his sixth home run of the year to dead center to give Lansing the three-game series victory.
The Lugs scored first against Colin Rea in the second inning when K.C. Hobson smacked an RBI double to score Kevin Pillar.
That was all Rea surrendered in the game, however, as the righty tossed six innings, gave up just four hits, walked none and struck out a career-high eight batters.
The TinCaps capped off a span of four unanswered runs with a three-run fifth against reliever Blake McFarland, but the Lugnuts’ bullpen tightened up afterward.
Kramer Champlin (Win, 3-1) threw a scoreless seventh inning before Ajay Meyer threw a perfect eighth and ninth innings to record his Midwest-League best 20th save this season.
Meyer received help to pick up the save; with one out, Casey McElroy made a bid for extra-bases with a liner deep down the left side, but Pillar made a spectacular diving catch to thwart the potential rally.
The Lugnuts All-Star left fielder finished an all-around superb evening with two hits and two runs scored in five at-bats.
Lansing All-Star right fielder Chris Hawkins did his part as well, throwing out TinCaps baserunners at the plate to end the second and fourth innings.
Nuts starter David Rollins worked to a no-decision, putting forth 3 2/3 innings of one run ball in which he gave up five hits, three walks and struck out two.
Manager John Tamargo, Jr. was ejected for the first time this season when he argued a play at first base that ended the top of the sixth inning. It was the first ejection of a Lugnut this season.
The Lugnuts begin their final series of the first half with a three-game set in Midland, Michigan, against the Great Lakes Loons. The series begins on Friday, June 15th at 7:05 p.m., with Marcus Walden (5-1, 2.48) on the mound for the Lugs opposed by Loons righty Arismendy Ozoria (3-3, 4.45).