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Butler, Armenteros go deep, but Lugs drop slugfest

September 11, 2021

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Lawrence Butler and Lazaro Armenteros each crushed monstrous home runs, but the host Fort Wayne TinCaps (53-60) outslugged the Lansing Lugnuts (54-59), 9-7, on Saturday night at Parkview Field. Butler’s three-run homer high up on the Parkview Field right-center pavilion in the first inning, his first

FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Lawrence Butler and Lazaro Armenteros each crushed monstrous home runs, but the host Fort Wayne TinCaps (53-60) outslugged the Lansing Lugnuts (54-59), 9-7, on Saturday night at Parkview Field.

Butler’s three-run homer high up on the Parkview Field right-center pavilion in the first inning, his first roundtripper in High-A after swatting 17 homers in Low-A Stockton, staked the Lugnuts to a quick 3-0 lead behind top prospect Jeff Criswell.
But Criswell departed after allowing two singles to open the fourth inning, and the TinCaps greeted reliever Brandon Withers with a hit parade, capping a six-run rally on a Robert Hassell III three-run homer for a 6-3 lead. Criswell’s final line: three innings-plus, three hits, one walk, three strikeouts, and two runs allowed, his first runs allowed in pro baseball.

From there, the game took on a consistent pattern: the Lugnuts’ offense chipped away, the TinCaps rebuilt the lead.

In the fifth inning, Drew Swift doubled home Armenteros to draw within two runs at 6-4 – but the TinCaps answered in the sixth on a Tirso Ornelas single against Charlie Cerny to go up 7-4.

In the seventh inning, Armenteros smashed a Cody Tyler pitch 432 feet to center field, where it landed high atop The Summit, a reception venue that serves as the Parkview Field batter’s eye. Armenteros’s third home run with the Lugnuts trimmed the deficit back to two runs. But the TinCaps plated a pair in the bottom of the seventh on a Cerny bases-loaded walk to Reinaldo Ilarraza and a José Mora run-scoring balk, lifting their lead to 9-5.

In the eighth, Butler struck again, singling home Cobie Vance, and Austin Beck followed with an RBI triple to left, pulling the Lugnuts within 9-7.

And in the ninth, Shane Selman and Vance drew walks from Padres 2021 third-rounder Kevin Kopps to bring up pinch-hitter William Simoneit with two outs. Simoneit drilled a Kopps pitch to deep right, but Tirso Ornelas hauled it in on the warning track to end the game.

In the losing cause, Vance led the offense with two singles, two walks and two runs scored. Armenteros and Butler each also scored a pair of runs.

The result leaves Sunday’s 1:05 p.m. series finale as the Lugnuts’ last road game in 2021. A victory, and the Nuts will take four of six from the TinCaps. A loss, and the TinCaps split the six-game series. Lansing will start right-hander Kyle Virbitsky, with the Fort Wayne starter yet to be announced.

After the series conclusion, the Lugnuts return home to end the season from September 14-19 against West Michigan. To purchase tickets or for more information, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.

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