LANSING, Mich. - In 1908 in a game against the Chicago Cubs, the New York Giants' Fred Merkle failed to touch second base on an apparent game-winning base hit to cost his team a chance at a win. Santiago Nessy made a similar mistake on Monday night, giving the Great Lakes Loons their seventh victory in a row.
For 2,568 fans at the July 1, 2013 game at Cooley Law School Stadium, years from now they may recall the night they witnessed Nessy's Negligence.
With two outs in the bottom of the ninth inning and a 3-2 count, Lansing's Chris Hawkins grounded an apparent single up the middle past reliever Matt Shelton. Lugnuts players celebrated with Hawkins just past first base, including Santiago Nessy, the runner at first. Loons center fielder James Baldwin fired the throw in to second baseman Kevin Taylor. After the umpires conferenced with themselves and both managers, Nessy was called out for failing to touch second base.
That extended the game to extra innings. In the top of the tenth inning, pinch hitter Leo Rodriguez singled down the first base line to bring home to go-ahead run, and Luis Meza held the Lugnuts scoreless in the bottom half to pull off the improbable victory for the Loons.
Matt Shelton (1-0), making his 2013 Loons debut, was the winning pitcher although he would have been loser had Nessy touched second base.
Tyler Ogle drove in the Loons' first run in the first inning on an RBI single to left. The Lugnuts tied the score with a sacrifice fly by Christian Lopes off Loons starter Tom Windle.
The Loons took a 4-1 lead with two in the fifth and one in the sixth. In the fifth, Baldwin raced to the plate and scored from third on a groundout to short by Taylor. Later Corey Seager brought in a run on a sac fly to center. In the sixth, Robbie Garvey singled to center to bring home Jose Capellan.
Baldwin kept the Lugnuts at one run with a terrific defensive play in the bottom of the seventh. On a fly ball to center by Lopes, Baldwin fired home to Capellan to retire the speedy Dalton Pompey on a double play.
But the Lugnuts tied the score with three unearned runs in the eighth. Following an error by Kevin Taylor to extend the inning, Emilio Guerrero homered off the foul pole in left field to tie the score.
Windle threw 2 2/3 innings in his second professional appearance, first start. Miguel Sulbaran entered with 5 1/3 innings of relief with no earned runs allowed, scattering eight hits and striking out five.
Ogle notched two hits and three walks. Baldwin finished with two hits and two walks.
The Loons (37-45 overall, 10-2 second half) begin a quick two-game homestand Tuesday evening against the West Michigan Whitecaps (38-44, 5-7). Game time is 7:05pm. It's Turn Back the Clock Night featuring a retro Jerseys-off-the-Back auction, part of the Loons' MidMichigan Health Michigan Legends Series. Right-hander Brandon Martinez (1-0, 3.07) is scheduled to start for the Loons. He will be opposed by righty Jake Thompson (0-1, 3.42). Tickets are available at Loons.com or 989-837-BALL.
The Loons are a seventh-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers and members of the Midwest League. For more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com or call 989-837-BALL.
NOTES: Prior to the game, the Midwest League named right-handed pitcher Scott Griggs the league's Pitcher of the Week. In three appearances and seven innings, Griggs went 1-0, allowing no runs, just one hit and striking out 15. Griggs is in a stretch of 18 1/3 consecutive scoreless innings, dating back to May 26. He's the first Loons player to win either Pitcher or Hitter of the Week since August 15, 2011 (RHP Bret Montgomery). West Michigan first baseman Jeff Holm, a Michigan State alumnus, won Hitter of the Week… Shelton, a member of the Loons last year, has returned to the team's active roster from Rancho Cucamonga. Right-hander Owen Jones has been placed on the Ogden roster.