Lugnuts' Comeback Bid Falls Short, 7-6
LANSING, Mich. - For the third straight day, the Great Lakes Loons built a sizeable lead. For the third straight day, Lansing Lugnuts rallied late. And for the third straight day, the Loons prevailed.
Brett de Geus retired Ryan Gold on a pop-up to shortstop with the tying and winning runs aboard, and the Eastern Division-leading Loons (28-15) overcame five errors to hold off the Lugnuts (18-26), 7-6, on Wednesday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The result followed Monday's series opener, which saw the Lugnuts rally from a 7-3 seventh-inning deficit only to fall in ten innings, 8-7, and Tuesday's matinee, in which the Lugnuts cut a 7-0 deficit to 7-6 and a 9-6 deficit to 9-8 before losing, 11-8.
On Wednesday, Leonel Valera and Niko Hulsizer hit two-run homers in a five-run Loons third inning, giving Great Lakes a 5-1 lead - only to see the Lugnuts push a run across in the third and two runs plateward in the fourth to pull within 5-4.
The Loons built their lead back to 7-4 on Romer Cuadrado's two-run single in the top of the fifth, forcing the Lugnuts back on their perpetual comeback trail.
In the seventh inning, Reggie Pruit reached on a fielder's choice, stole second - his third stolen base of the game and his league-leading 21st steal, moved to third on a throwing error by catcher Jair Camargo, and scored on a wild pitch by reliever Justin Hagenman (Win, 3-1) to trim the Loons' lead to 7-5.
In the ninth inning, the Nuts made their final push. Tanner Kirwer led off with a single, and Nick Podkul and Luis De Los Santos drew back-to-back one-out walks from Austin Drury to load the bases. The Loons brought in de Geus (Save, 2), who induced Jake Brodt to hit a fielder's choice to third, scoring Kirwer to bring the Lugnuts within a run. Gold then popped up to shortstop Jacob Amaya to end the game.
Lugnuts starting pitcher Sean Wymer (Loss, 2-4) allowed seven runs (six earned) on nine hits and a walk in 4 1/3 innings, striking out three. He was followed to the mound by Jackson Rees, who fired 3 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out five while allowing four hits and one walk, and Cre Finfrock, who tossed a perfect ninth with a strikeout.
In the victory, the Loons' Camargo and third baseman Miguel Vargas each committed two errors, and first baseman Dillon Paulson committed an error of his own - the second game in the series in which the Loons' defense was charged with five errors.
The Lugnuts will look to avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Loons on a Labatt Blue Thirsty Thursday / Beer Mile, featuring $1/$2/$3 draft beer specials and $3 wine specials, with gates opening at 6:00 p.m. and first pitch at 7:05 p.m. between Lansing right-hander Fitz Stadler (5.40 ERA) and Loons right-hander Stephen Kolek (5.45). To live the Lug Life and purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
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