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Boosted by Relief, Nuts Rally for 5-4 Win

September 18, 2021 - High-A Central League (High-A Central) - Lansing Lugnuts News Release

LANSING, Mich. - Trailing 4-0 after the second inning, the Lansing Lugnuts (57-61) received seven scoreless innings from a trio of relievers and rallied for a 6-4 win over the West Michigan Whitecaps (57-61) on Friday night at Jackson® Field™.

The crucial blow came in the bottom of the seventh inning, with William Simoneit lining a two-out, go-ahead two-run single, lifting the Lugnuts into the lead for good.

The Lugnuts have won three straight games over their archrivals in the six-game season-ending series, and can clinch a series victory with a win over the weekend.

West Michigan DH Rey Rivera belted a one-out solo home run to center field off Lugnuts starter Jeff Criswell with one out in the second inning, Rivera's 20th home run of the season. Five batters later, Jake Holton cleared the bases with a three-run double, pushing the visitors into a quick, comfortable 4-0 lead.

But José Mora took over for Criswell in the third inning and tossed two scoreless one-hit frames, striking out three, and Jordan Díaz and Lazaro Armenteros crushed opposite-field home runs off West Michigan starter Adam Wolf in the bottom of the fourth, drawing the Nuts within 4-2.

Brandon Withers relieved Mora in the fifth inning and similarly allowed only one hit while striking out three batters, tossing the next three innings; meanwhile, Patrick McColl's RBI single brought in Lawrence Butler in the bottom of the sixth, and the Nuts drew within 4-3.

In the seventh inning, after Withers's third and final scoreless inning, the Nuts completed their comeback. With two outs and no one on, debuting 20-year-old Jalen Greer drew a walk from Whitecaps reliever Chris Mauloni. Cobie Vance followed with a first-pitch single to left, and Lawrence Butler beat out an infield single off the pitcher to load the bases for Simoneit. The Lugnuts' catcher worked the count to 2-and-2 before lashing a line drive into center field, scoring both Greer and Vance for a 5-4 lead.

An inning later, Armenteros doubled and Jonny Butler singled him in to add insurance and close out the scoring.

All that remained was for the Lugnuts' bullpen to finish the effort they had begun, and Leudeny Pineda did just that. The right-hander stranded a two-out Austin Schultz triple in the eighth, striking out the side, and then pitched a perfect ninth, finishing with a fourth strikeout, to nail down the victory.

In all, relievers Mora, Withers and Pineda combined to hold the Whitecaps to three hits and no walks in 24 at-bats, striking out 10.

Saturday night, the fifth game of the six-game series and penultimate game of the season, is Fan Appreciation Night and the final LAFCU Fireworks show of the year. Southpaw Jack Owen (5.06 ERA) starts at 7:05 p.m. against West Michigan right-hander Zac Shepherd (5.05 ERA). To purchase tickets or for more information, visit or call (517) 485-4500.

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High-A Central League Stories from September 18, 2021

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