MIDLAND, Mich. -- Heading into the final stages on Tuesday night, the Great Lakes Loons were cruising with a comfortable three-run lead. Then, here came the Lansing Lugnuts with four runs over the final three innings to steal a 4-3 victory to begin the holiday home-and-series with the Loons this week.
Jacob Amaya put the Loons out in front right away in the 1st inning with a two-run shot to the opposite field over the right field wall. That came against the highly-touted Eric Pardinho, who was making his Lugnuts debut. The Toronto Blue Jays prospect is ranked No. 4 in their system by MLB Pipleline. Apart from the long ball, Pardinho didn't allow any more runs in his four-inning outing.
On the other side for Great Lakes (49-30), after a rocky start to his season in which he allowed 17 runs in 10 IP, Robinson Ortiz has turned himself into one of the cornerstones of the Loons starting rotation. The lefty went six strong innings scattering seven hits and two walks without allowing a run. In the last month, Ortiz has lowered his ERA from 16.00 to 5.23.
After Matt Cogen singled in a third run, the tables began to turn on a double steal for Lansing in the 7th that saw Hagen Danner scamper home. Griffin Conine then rocketed a ball into the power alley in left center in the 8th to pull within a run. Despite the late surge, the Loons were still within three outs of a victory.
Johnny Aiello and Hagen Danner led off the inning with a pair of walks. LJ Talley used a successful sacrifice bunt to put both runners in scoring position and the Loons in trouble. Up stepped D.J. Neal who poked a double inside the first base bag to bring both runners in to score.
The home portion of the series with the Lugnuts concludes on Wednesday with our Independence Day Celebration. Both teams will then travel to Lansing for games on July 4-5.
Tomorrow: Independence Day Celebration feat. Theme Jersey Auction
Saturday: Field of the Dreams Night feat. Dwier Brown appearance
Sunday: Feats of Awesomeness Day feat. Tyler's Amazing Balancing Act
Monday: Outdoors Night feat. Mike Avery
July 17: Grand Slam Game
July 18: Christmas in July
July 19: Latino Night
The Great Lakes Loons have been the Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team's inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team's home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.