Lugs Pile up 15 Hits in 11-7 Loss to Loons
LANSING, Mich. - Hunter Steinmetz, Johnny Aiello and Otto Lopez notched three hits apiece as the Lansing Lugnuts (32-31, 64-68) erased an early five-run deficit before losing 11-7 to the Great Lakes Loons (35-28, 78-52) on a misty Monday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Lugnuts' elimination number fell to five. Any combination of five Lansing losses and South Bend wins would eliminate the Nuts from postseason contention.
Great Lakes shortstop Leonel Valera hit an inside-the-park grand slam to center field to cap a five-run second inning, putting the Loons up 5-0 early. All five runs were unearned off of starter Troy Miller due to a fielding error by shortstop Ronny Brito.
But the Lugnuts struck back against Loons starter Stephen Kolek with three runs in the second inning, including a Steinmetz two-run double, and three more runs in the third inning, capped by another Steinmetz two-run double, to seize a 6-5 lead.
Romer Cuadrado tied the score at 6-6 with an RBI double in the fifth off Miller, ending the right-hander's night after 4 2/3 innings.
He was relieved by Andy McGuire (Loss, 0-1), who recorded the final out of the fifth before allowing two runs in the sixth and a third run in the eighth, scored against inheriting reliever Randy Pondler.
The Loons ended the night with two runs in the ninth against Pondler, including Justin Yurchak's fourth home run of the season.
Great Lakes right-hander Justin Hagenman (Win, 6-1) gave up six hits but no runs in 2 2/3 innings, striking out one.
Justin Bruihl then pitched the next three innings before yielding to Edward Cuello (Save, 1) for the final out of the game, striking out Lopez with two Lugnuts aboard in the bottom of the ninth.
In defeat, center fielder Steinmetz finished 3-for-4 with a single, two doubles, a walk, a run scored and four runs batted in, ending a 1-for-26 slump. Aiello went 3-for-5 with three singles, two runs and an RBI. Lopez, the league's leading hitter, was 3-for-6 with two singles, a run scored, and an RBI, raising his batting average to .322.
Right-hander Cobi Johnson (5.00 ERA) starts the finale of the four-game series against Great Lakes right-hander Kevin Malisheski (3.46) at 7:05 p.m. Tuesday, a $2 Taco Tuesday. 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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