SOUTH BEND, Ind. - The South Bend Silver Hawks (30-19) took the lead with two runs in the seventh inning and outlasted the Lansing Lugnuts (24-25), 7-6, on Sunday afternoon at Four Winds Field.
Four of Lansing's last eight games have been decided by one run.
South Bend's Zach Esquerra drove in his third run of the game in the bottom of the seventh against reliever Yeyfry Del Rosario (Loss, 0-1) to put the Silver Hawks ahead, 7-6. The left fielder finished the night 3-for-4 with a pair of doubles.
The Lugnuts fell behind 5-2 after five innings, but scored four unanswered runs to take a late lead.
Second baseman Jason Leblebijian started the rally with an RBI single in the sixth. Derrick Loveless, L.B. Dantzler, and Mitch Nay each drove in a run off of reliever Tom Jameson (Win, 1-0) in the top of the seventh to give Lansing a 6-5 advantage.
South Bend's Daniel Gibson (Hold, 7) struck out the side in order in the eighth inning, and closer Silvino Bracho (Save, 6) pitched a perfect ninth inning to close out the win for the Silver Hawks.
Lansing starting pitcher Jeremy Gabryswski did not receive a decision after allowing five runs on nine hits in his five innings. South Bend starter Blayne Weller pitched 5.2 innings and allowed three runs on five hits and three walks, striking out five Lugnuts.
Lansing received most of its offensive production from the bottom third of its order. Jorge Saez went 2-for-3 and scored three runs in the game. Leblebijian and Dickie Joe Thon each went 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Reliever Phil Kish worked around a pair of walks to record a scoreless eighth inning for the Lugnuts.
Lansing and South Bend play the second in the three-game set on Monday afternoon at Four Winds Field. Right-hander Chase De Jong (0-1, 3.72) starts on the mound for the Lugnuts, with 2013 first-round draft pick Braden Shipley (3-2, 3.86) pitching for the Silver Hawks. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.
The Lugs return to Cooley Law School Stadium on Wednesday, May 28th, for a Hump Day starring Humphrey the Camel. Tickets are available for purchase via the stadium box office, telephone at 517-485-4500 and online at lansinglugnuts.com. To sign up for Lugnuts Alerts, text LUGNUTS to 80373.
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