LANSING, Mich. - Reggie Pruitt brought in Dom Abbadessa with a tie-breaking sacrifice fly in the eighth and Will McAffer walked the bases loaded in the ninth before the Lansing Lugnuts (10-8) escaped with a 6-5 victory over the South Bend Cubs (9-8) on Tuesday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
After losing leads of 4-1 and 7-6 in a 13-10 10-inning defeat on Monday, the Lugnuts experienced déjà vu, building leads of 3-0 and 5-2 before watching the Cubs tie the score on an Andy Weber three-run triple in the seventh.
On this night, however, Lansing's response proved final: Abbadessa led off the eighth with a triple against Eugenio Palma (Loss, 1-1) and Pruitt promptly plated him with a fly ball hauled in by right fielder Nelson Velazquez deep in the corner.
Things turned hairy in the ninth for McAffer (Save, 1), who struck out D.J. Artis, walked Cole Roederer, Weber and Jonathan Sierra in succession, and recovered to strike out Velazquez and retire Tyler Durna on a fly to left to end the game.
Lansing starter Josh Hiatt was strong in a no-decision, striking out three in five shutout innings while allowing only three hits and a hit-by-pitch.
The Lugnuts' offense was also rolling. Pruitt tripled and scored on an Alejandro Kirk RBI single in the third inning, Jake Brodt homered for the second straight game leading off the fourth inning, and Abbadessa supplied an RBI fielder's choice later in the frame for an early three-run lead.
The Cubs plated two runs in the sixth against reliever Juan De Paula (Win, 2-1; Blown Save, 1), but the Lugnuts responded with two of their own on a wild play: With Nick Podkul at first, Abbadessa hit a slow roller that third baseman Chris Morel picked up late and threw away. Right fielder Velazquez, backing up the play, attempted to hurl the ball home but his throw sailed into the South Bend dugout, and both Podkul and Abbadessa were awarded home plate.
The Lugnuts finished the game with 15 hits, following up a 16-hit performance on Monday, raising their team batting average to .277. All nine starters hit safely, led by two hit nights from Kirk, Pruitt, Abbadessa, Brodt, Ryan Gold and D.J. Neal.
The Nuts look for a series victory in the Wednesday 12:05 p.m. finale, a Dog Days of Summer pitting Lansing right-hander Sean Wymer (3.93 ERA) against Cubs right-hander Cam Sanders (0.00). Gates open at 11:00 a.m.
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.