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Lugs Go Big Early to Knock off TinCaps, 9-6

July 30, 2021 - High-A Central League (High-A Central) - Lansing Lugnuts News Release

LANSING, Mich. - Lester Madden, Jr., keyed a six-run third inning with a three-run double and Cobie Vance made a sensational game-changing defensive play in the seventh, helping the Lansing Lugnuts (36-40) hold off the Fort Wayne TinCaps (35-41), 9-6, on Friday night at Jackson® Field™.

With two outs in the pivotal seventh inning, the TinCaps trailed 7-6 against reliever Brock Whittlesey, but had advanced Tyler Malone to third and Reinaldo Ilarraza to second base on a double, error and stolen base. Lansing called upon Garrett Acton to face Jonny Homza, who sent a sharp grounder deep into the shortstop hole, a potential two-run go-ahead single - but Vance laid out to his right for a diving stop, jumped to his feet, and whipped a one-hop throw to first baseman William Simoneit to retire the side and thwart Fort Wayne.

Acton took hold of the game from there, pitching around a single and a walk in the eighth and a single in the ninth to lock down the Lugnuts' second straight win in the series after dropping the first two contests.

Neither team's starting pitcher escaped the third inning.

The Lugnuts' Reid Birlingmair brought a 1-0 lead into the frame but walked the bases loaded with one out, and then departed after a Luis Almanzar RBI single, finishing with 2 1/3 innings, three hits, five walks and two runs allowed.

The TinCaps' 2-1 lead then disappeared quickly in the home half; Connor Lehmann allowed the first five batters to reach, set down Jared McDonald on a flyout to right, and then served up a drive to left-center from Madden, Jr., that appeared to blow the game wide open. Lehmann lasted 2 2/3 innings in all, giving up eight hits, seven runs (six earned) and two walks in 2 2/3 innings.

But the TinCaps rallied from their 7-2 deficit with two runs in the fourth against Brandon Withers and sixth against Whittlesey to make the game tight.

The Lugnuts added insurance tallies in the seventh and eighth to close out the scoring.

Vance led the offense with a single, triple, walk and HBP in five trips, joining Simoneit and Jordan Díaz in scoring a pair of runs.

The fifth game in the series is a Copa de la Diversión game with the Lansing Locos returning to action at 7:05 p.m., sending right-hander Colin Peluse (3.90 ERA) against TinCaps right-hander Carlos Guarate (5.00). The first 1,000 fans in attendance will receive a Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. 25th Anniversary Bobblehead, with LAFCU Fireworks following the game. To purchase tickets, visit or call (517) 485-4500.

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High-A Central League Stories from July 30, 2021

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