By Jesse Goldberg-Strassler / Lansing Lugnuts | August 22, 2019 11:37 PM
SOUTH BEND, Ind.- Cole Roederer homered twice, including a two-run shot in a five-run first inning, and the South Bend Cubs (34-25, 71-56) drew ever closer to a playoff berth with an 8-1 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (30-29, 62-66) on Thursday night at Four Winds Field.
With 11 games remaining in the regular season, the Cubs lead the Lugnuts by four games for the second and final Midwest League Eastern Division postseason berth - though, since South Bend owns the tiebreaker between the two teams, the Cubs would need to fall behind the Lugnuts in the standings in order to lose out on a playoff bid.
Lugnuts starter Cobi Johnson(Loss, 2-8) lasted just six batters, giving up an infield single to leadoff hitter Darius Hill, walking three batters, tossing two wild pitches, and recording one out before Roederer's eighth home run of the season lifted the Cubs into a 5-0 lead and ended Johnson's night.
Three Nuts relievers combined to pitch the next 7 2/3 innings, each one allowing a run: Andy McGuiretossed 3 1/3 innings, Randy Pondlerhandled 2 1/3 with a solo home run served up to Jake Slaughter, and Jose Espadapitched the seventh and eighth innings and gave up Roederer's ninth home run of the year.
The Lugnuts' only run came in the ninth on a Johnny Aiellosolo home run off former Michigan State Spartan Riley McCauley, Aiello's third hit of the night and seventh roundtripper of the season.
Otherwise, Lansing's offense was silenced on three non-Aiello hits by South Bend starter Riley Thompson(Win, 8-5) for the first five innings and Fauris Guerrero for the next three innings.
Right-hander Sean Wymer(5.76 ERA) starts the series finale at 7:35 p.m. on Friday with the Nuts looking to avoid a three-game sweep. The Cubs will counter with spot-starting right-hander Brendan King (4.44) in his first start of the year.
The Lugnuts return home on Saturday - Harry Potter Night with LAFCU Fireworks! - to open a seven-game homestand. 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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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.