Lugnuts Halt Skid with Late Rally, 5-4
SOUTH BEND, Ind. - D.J. Neal singled home pinch-runner Reggie Pruitt in the ninth, and the Lansing Lugnuts (4-5) snapped a three-game losing streak with a 5-4 victory over the South Bend Cubs (4-5) on Friday night at Four Winds Field.
The Cubs had brought a 4-3 lead into the eighth inning, but a two-out fielding error by second baseman Rafael Narea brought in Alejandro Kirk from second base with the game-tying run.
In the ninth inning, Jake Brodt drew a leadoff walk from reliever Zach Mort (Loss, 0-1), culminating an 11-pitch at-bat, and Pruitt came on to pinch-run. Following a Mc Gregory Contreras strikeout, Pruitt swiped second base. Neal took advantage, punching a line drive through the right side of the diamond, and Pruitt scored sliding ahead of Jonathan Sierra's throw home.
The Cubs made matters interesting in the bottom of the ninth, using two-out singles from D.J. Artis and Cole Roederer to put the tying and winning runs aboard. But Connor Law (Win, 1-0) struck out Andy Weber with a 2-2 fastball, locking down the victory.
Law fired 2 2/3 scoreless innings, striking out four, in relief of Lugnuts starter Sean Wymer, who worked 6 1/3 innings, striking out five and giving up seven hits, four runs and two walks.
The Lugnuts had built a 3-0 lead thanks to a first-inning solo home run from Alejandro Kirk and a fourth-inning two-run homer from Jordan Groshans - the first of the season for the Blue Jays' 2018 first-rounder.
The Cubs came back with four unanswered runs - one in the fourth, two in the fifth and one in the seventh - to set up the late-inning drama.
Kirk finished a triple shy of the cycle, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored to raise his batting average to .379.
Right-hander Fitz Stadler (0.00) starts the second game of the three-game series, taking on South Bend right-hander Riley Thompson (1.93) at 4:05 p.m. Saturday.
The Nuts return to Cooley Law School Stadium on a Labatt Blue Thirsty Thursday, April 18th: The Purge Night! Sometime during the game, a siren will sound - at which point all food and non-alcoholic beverages are free until the inning comes to an end!
To purchase tickets and live the Lug Life at Cooley Law School Stadium, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
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