Talley Triple Keys 5-3 Comeback Win
LANSING, Mich. - LJ Talley lined a two-run triple in a three-run seventh-inning rally and the Lansing Lugnuts (27-24, 59-61) won their fifth straight game, 5-3, over the Fort Wayne TinCaps (21-30, 54-65) on Wednesday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
With South Bend defeating Lake County, 6-1, the Lugnuts remained one game behind the Cubs for the Eastern Division's final playoff berth. 19 games remain in the regular season.
The initial story of the game was Fort Wayne third baseman Ethan Skender, who delivered an RBI single in the second inning and an RBI double in the fourth inning, along with TinCaps starter Omar Cruz, who held the Nuts to one unearned run on three hits in six strong innings, striking out seven.
The 'Caps brought a 2-1 lead to the seventh, but new reliever Franklin Van Gurp (Blown Save, 1; Loss, 0-1) issued one-out walks to Tanner Kirwer and Johnny Aiello. Talley followed with a line drive to center field that eluded a diving Jawuan Harris and traveled all the way to the wall, bringing in Kirwer and Aiello for a 3-2 lead. Three batters later, Otto Lopez extended his team-high hitting streak to 15 games with an RBI single to center field.
In the eighth, a Kirwer RBI single off Dylan Coleman plated Griffin Conine, increasing the Lugnuts' lead to 5-2.
Skender struck again in the ninth, hooking a two-out RBI double down the left-field line off Cre Finfrock to bring the TinCaps within one. Finfrock then hit Harris with a pitch to put the tying runs aboard, but retired Lee Solomon on a flyout to left to record his league-leading 15th save in as many opportunities.
Lugnuts starter Fitz Stadler was stellar in a no-decision, matching a career high set in his last start with six innings, setting a new career high with seven strikeouts, and allowing two runs on four hits and two walks.
Josh Hiatt (Win, 2-3) pitched the seventh and eighth innings hitlessly, walking one and striking out two.
In the win, first baseman Yorman Rodriguez went 1-for-4 with an RBI single and is now hitting 11-for-23 (.478) in his first five games in the Midwest League.
The second game of the three-game series and seven-game homestand will be held at 7:05 p.m. Thursday, The Big Lug-bowski Night with bowling, White Russians and more on a special Labatt Thirsty Thursday! Lugnuts right-hander Troy Watson (3.42 ERA) receives the start against Fort Wayne right-hander Efrain Contreras (3.86). 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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