Lugnuts Continue Dominance of Whitecaps
LANSING, Mich. - The Lansing Lugnuts (33-32, 65-69) maintained their mastery of the West Michigan Whitecaps (25-40, 46-88), taking the opener of a three-game series, 8-6, on Wednesday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Nuts improved to 10-4 in the season series against their longtime archnemesis, winning for the ninth time in the last ten meetings.
Right fielder Griffin Conine drilled an RBI double in a two-run first inning, and then added a go-ahead two-run double in a four-run fifth inning that erased a 3-2 deficit and put the Lugnuts back on top to stay. Conine was aided by second baseman LJ Talley, who knocked him in with a first-inning sacrifice fly and a fifth-inning RBI double of his own.
Catcher Ryan Gold, however, might have supplied the biggest blow: a two-run triple for insurance in the seventh inning that gave the Lugnuts an 8-4 edge - which mattered greatly when West Michigan third baseman Andre Lipcius lined a two-run single in the ninth.
As it turned out, it was too little, too late for the Whitecaps.
Lansing starter Sean Wymer (Win, 8-11) tossed five innings, striking out four while allowing three runs on seven hits and one walk. Josh Hiatt pitched the sixth and seventh innings, giving up a run, before Marcus Reyes handled the eighth and ninth.
West Michigan starter Carson Lance (Loss, 0-3) gave up five runs (three earned) on six hits and two walks in four innings-plus.
The Whitecaps' Riley Greene, the fifth overall selection in June's draft, finished 1-for-5 with a run scored and a diving catch in center field to take away a base hit from Yorman Rodriguez.
Even in victory, the Lugnuts' playoff chances took another blow. The South Bend Cubs routed the Fort Wayne TinCaps, 13-4, decreasing the Lugnuts' elimination number to two.
Lugnuts right-hander Fitz Stadler (5.13 ERA) takes the mound for the second game of the three-game series, a Labatt Blue Thirsty Thursday at 7:05 p.m. West Michigan's starter is yet to be announced. To live the Lug Life and purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com, call (517) 485-4500 or come to the Cooley Law School Stadium box office at 505 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Lansing.
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