Nuts Close First Half with 2-1 Triumph
LANSING, Mich. - Jake Brodt's two-out infield single brought in Griffin Conine from third in the bottom of the sixth inning, and the Lansing Lugnuts (32-37) edged the Bowling Green Hot Rods (39-31), 2-1, in the first-half regular season finale on a Father's Day afternoon at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Hot Rods entered the game leading all of Class-A with a .253 batting average, but starter Troy Miller and a parade of four relievers held the visitors to only three hits.
Miller fired five innings with five strikeouts, holding the Hot Rods hitless until an Osmy Gregorio two-out double in the fifth followed by a Ford Proctor single supplied Bowling Green's only run, tying the score at 1-1.
Marcus Reyes (Win, 2-1) faced the minimum in the sixth, erasing a leadoff single with a double-play grounder, putting him in position to be the pitcher of record when the Lugnuts mounted the decisive rally.
The Nuts placed Conine at second base and Gabriel Moreno at first thanks to a walk and a single to open the frame against Nick Padilla (Loss, 4-2). Ryan Gold grounded into a double play, moving Conine to third. Brodt followed with a tapper to the left of the mound. Pitcher Padilla understood that a barehand was necessary in order to get Brodt at first, but he was unable to find the handle as Conine scored the tiebreaking run.
The Lugnuts' bullpen took it the rest of the way: Will McAffer finished a scoreless seventh inning by inducing a double-play ball, Mike Pascoe walked Gregorio but struck out Proctor in the eighth, and Sean Rackoski (Save, 5) set down the final five batters of the game, stranding Gregorio at third base to end the eighth before posting a perfect ninth inning.
In the victory, shortstop Rafael Lantigua finished 1-for-2 with a double, a walk and a run scored, with third baseman Nick Podkul adding an RBI single in four at-bats.
The Midwest League now pauses for the All-Star Break, with Podkul, Brodt, Gold and pitchers Josh Winckowski and Cobi Johnson representing the Lugnuts and Toronto Blue Jays' organization at the 55th annual Midwest League All-Star Classic at Four Winds Field in South Bend, Ind.
The Nuts open the second half with a four-game series at Dayton beginning Thursday. The next Lugnuts homestand: a seven-gamer from June 25-July 1 against Lake County and Bowling Green, including Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. Jersey Giveaway Night on June 28th and Backyard Baseball Night 2 with a Pete Wheeler Bobblehead Giveaway on June 29th! 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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