Lugnuts, Timber Rattlers Split Doubleheader
LANSING, Mich. - Five unanswered runs led the Lansing Lugnuts (8-16) to a 5-3 win over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (9-14) in game one of a doubleheader, but the Rattlers bats went off early in the nightcap en route to a 9-3 win, earning a split at Cooley Law School Stadium on Thursday night.
In the opener, the Lugs fell behind 3-0 after the top of the second inning but roared back to halt a five-game losing streak.
After Chris Hawkins bunted his way on in the second, extending his hitting streak to 13 games, Shane Opitz tripled him home with a blast to deep right-center field. Opitz came around to score on an error, pulling the Lugs to within 3-2.
With that same score in the bottom of the sixth inning, the Lugnuts jumped ahead on back-to-back home runs by Kellen Sweeney and Dwight Smith Jr., both out to right field off Timber Rattlers' reliever Tyler Mangum (Loss, 1-2), to take a 4-3 lead. Dalton Pompey singled home Jorge Flores to add an insurance run, putting Lansing ahead 5-3.
Wil Browning (Win, 2-3) received the win in game one with two scoreless innings of relief. Browning struck out three and allowed just one hit.
Lugnuts starter Daniel Norris delivered his strongest outing of the season, going five innings, tying a career-long outing. Norris allowed three runs, two of them earned, with two strikeouts and one walk.
In game two, the Timber Rattler jumped all over Lugnuts starter Ben White (Loss, 0-2) early. Behind four hits and the benefit of two walks from White, Wisconson plated four in the first inning.
White lasted just two innings, allowing five runs - all of them earned - on five hits. He struck out three and walked three in his first start this season after making five prior relief appearances.
In the fourth inning, Wisconsin extended their lead with a two-run home run by Mitch Haniger off of Lugnuts reliever Arik Sikula, giving the Rattlers a 7-0 lead.
The offense by Wisconsin was more than enough for starter Tyler Wagner (Win, 2-1). Wagner tossed six innings, allowing three runs but none of them earned. He struck out six Lansing hitters and did not allow a walk.
In the loss, the Lugnuts chipped away with a run in the fourth and two in the fifth. Pompey finished 2-for-4 with a run scored in game two. Christian Lopes was also 2-for-3 with a pair of runs driven in.
Hawkins went 0-for-3 in the nightcap, ending his hitting streak at a team-high 13 games.
The series finale, and rubber match, comes Friday night with the Lugnuts sending right-hander Javier AvendaÃÂ±o (2-1, 3.91) to the mound against Wisconsin righty Leonard Lorenzo (1-1, 6.75). First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. on a Flat Screen Friday, presented by Auto-Owners Insurance, with eight lucky fans winning flat screen TVs.
Lansing Lugnuts tickets are available for purchase at lansinglugnuts.com and by calling 517-485-4500, and Lugnuts text alerts are easily accessed by texting LUGNUTS to 313131.
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