EASTLAKE, OH - Will Benson homered twice and Miguel Eladio hit a two-run game-winning homer to cap a five-run ninth-inning rally, lifting the Lake County Captains (29-38, 58-79) to a 10-9 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (37-31, 80-58) in the opener of a three-game series on Saturday night at Classic Park.
The Lugnuts have lost all four of their games at Lake County this season, three by walk-off.
The Nuts brought a 9-5 lead to the bottom of the ninth behind reliever Dalton Rodriguez (Loss, 2-1). Dane Hutcheon opened the frame with a flyout to center and Jonathan Laureano followed with a bouncer toward third that took a bad hop over the head of Bryan Lizardo into left field for a one-out single. Benson followed with a towering two-run homer to right, his league-leading 22nd home run, cutting the lead in half.
J.J. Berardi grounded out to second for the second out, but Mitch Reeves doubled to left-center and pinch-hitter Jose Vicente lined an RBI single up the middle to narrow the Lugnuts' lead to 9-8. Eighth-place hitter Eladio fell behind in the count 1-and-2 before lofting his third home run of the season into the left-field bleachers.
Ryan Gold went 4-for-4 with two RBIs and two runs scored for the Lugnuts, who had scored two runs in the fourth and five in the fifth for a 7-0 lead against Lake County starter Felix Tati .
Benson swatted his 21st home run of the year with two teammates aboard in the sixth inning, cutting the Nuts' lead to 7-3.
Lansing increased its lead to 9-3 on a Lizardo RBI single in the seventh and a Gold RBI single in the eighth.
In the bottom of the eighth, Rodriguez served up an RBI triple to Mitch Reeves, then brought in Reeves with a wild pitch to pull the Captains within four and set the stage for the ninth.
Right-hander Jordan Scheftz (Win, 1-0) pitched the final 1 1/3 innings scorelessly for Lake County to earn the victory.
Lugnuts starter Graham Spraker pitched five shutout innings in a no-decision, allowing two hits and four walks while striking out four.
The Captains committed a season-high six errors, two each by center fielder Benson and first baseman Reeves.
Lansing right-hander Kyle Weatherly (3.64 ERA) starts the middle affair of the three-game series, set for 1:30 p.m. on Sunday, opposed by Captains left-hander Juan Hillman (5.31).
The 12th annual Crosstown Showdown presented by Auto-Owners Insurance arrives on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m., with a pregame Home Run Derby and commemorative baseball caps to the first 2,000 fans! To purchase tickets and live the Lug Life at Cooley Law School Stadium, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.