MIDLAND, Mich (WLMI) Kevin Pillar smashed his second grand slam of the year, powering the Lansing Lugnuts (47-22) to a 9-2 victory over the Great Lakes Loons (34-36) on Sunday afternoon at Dow Diamond, putting the exclamation point on the best half in team history.
The Lugs began their 17th season with a record-setting seven-game winning streak and finished by inscribing a new franchise record for wins in a half at 47.
The Lugnuts never looked back after a six-run third inning against All-Star Jarret Martin (Loss, 3-5) who struggled with his command in 2 1/3 innings. The lefty allowed six runs on one hit – Pillar’s grand slam – and a career-high-tying six walks.
Gustavo Pierre added an RBI triple in the fifth inning and Andy Burns smashed his first home run in nearly a month leading off the seventh.
Lugnuts starter Aaron Sanchez worked four innings and allowed just one unearned run while striking out five and walking a career-high five batters.
Blake McFarland worked two innings out of the bullpen and allowed just one run on four hits. Tyler Ybarra (Win, 1-2) followed by striking out four in two hitless innings of work.
The Lugs finished the half with a highlight reel double play.
With All-Star closer Ajay Meyer on the mound, the Loons put runners at first and third with one out for their own All-Star, slugger O’Koyea Dickson. Meyer coaxed a bouncer up the middle, handled by shortstop Burns, who glove-flipped to second baseman Shane Opitz. Opitz bare-handed the toss and converted the pivot to end the game and the half in stunning fashion.
The Lugnuts’ next home game will take place on Friday, June 22nd, opening the second half with a three-game series against the Great Lakes Loons. The game features a special Kids Eat Free special, with all kids 12 years of age and younger receiving a free hot dog, bag of potato chips and fountain drink, and postgame LAFCU Fireworks.