Five-run 3rd helps Hot Rods avert sweep

(Photograph: Kyle Castle / Lansing Lugnuts)

By Jesse Goldberg-Strassler / Lansing Lugnuts | September 2, 2016 10:40 PM

LANSING, Mich. - Buoyed by a five-run third inning, the Bowling Green Hot Rods (44-23, 81-55) avoided a three-game sweep with a 6-2 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (32-35, 68-69) on Friday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.

The Nuts finished their 2016 regular-season home schedule with a record of 40-30.

Josh DeGraaf (Loss, 5-7) held the Hot Rods off the board through the first two innings before succumbing in the third to a rally made up of two walks, two wild pitches, an error by shortstop Ryan Metzler, RBI singles from Kevin Padlo and Brett Sullivan, a two-run double from Peter Maris, and - against incoming reliever Daniel Young - an RBI single from Landon Cray.

Bowling Green starter Michael Velasquez (Win, 8-9) tossed six innings, allowing five hits, one run, one walk and seven strikeouts.

The only serious threat Velasquez faced occurred in the bottom of the fourth. Justin Atkinson doubled in J.B. Woodman to put the Lugnuts on the board. A subsequent hit-by-pitch of Connor Panas loaded the bases with one out, but both Metzler and Cavan Biggio struck out to end the inning.

Tayler Saucedo gave the Lugnuts four innings of relief, allowing solely a seventh-inning unearned run on a Manny Sanchez RBI single.

Nuts catcher Ryan Hissey blasted his fourth home run of the season leading off the ninth to close out the scoring.

After making just one error in their previous four games, the Lugnuts committed four errors, leading to three unearned runs.

In defeat, Ryan Hissey, J.B. Woodman and Cavan Biggio each went 2-for-4 and Juan Kelly drew a fourth-inning walk to extend his league-leading on-base streak to 33 straight games.

Center fielder Joshua Palacios was 0-for-4, ending his hitting streak at 19 games and his on-base streak at 32 games.

Lansing next heads out to Lake County for a three-game series to conclude the regular season spanning Labor Day weekend. Right-hander Justin Maese (1-4, 3.73) starts the 7:00 p.m. Saturday opener at Classic Park, opposed by right-hander Shao-Ching Chiang (8-11, 3.94)

The Lansing Lugnuts return to Cooley Law School Stadium for the 10th annual Crosstown Showdown presented by Auto-Owners Insurance on Tuesday, September 6th. Gates open at 5 p.m. with $2 beers and fountain drinks, a limited edition baseball cap giveaway to the first 2,000 fans, a pregame Home Run Derby at 5:30 p.m., and first pitch at 7:05 p.m. For more information or to purchase your tickets, call 517-485-4500 or visit


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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.

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