DAYTON, OH - Brandon Grudzielanek dropped down a bunt toward third in a tie game in the eighth and ended up circling the bases, supplying the winning run in the Lansing Lugnuts' (17-18, 60-45) 5-4 victory over the Dayton Dragons (17-18, 48-55) in the Saturday night opener of a four-game series
DAYTON, OH - Brandon Grudzielanek dropped down a bunt toward third in a tie game in the eighth and ended up circling the bases, supplying the winning run in the Lansing Lugnuts' (17-18, 60-45) 5-4 victory over the Dayton Dragons (17-18, 48-55) in the Saturday night opener of a four-game series at Fifth Third Field.
The wild turn of events helped the Lugnuts improve to 10-2 against the Dragons this season.
Facing All-Star reliever Cory Thompson (Loss, 5-4) with one out in the eighth, the score tied at 4-4, and Ryan Noda at first base following a single, Grudzielanek took advantage of third baseman Leandro Santana playing back to lay down a perfect bunt. Santana attempted a barehanded play but threw inaccurately toward first, with the ball ricocheting past the right-field line into the Lugnuts' bullpen. Noda attempted to score but first baseman Reshard Munroe recovered the ball and threw to the plate, where home plate umpire Thomas Burrell pronounced Noda out. Noda jumped up and argued the call as Grudzielanek attempted to move up to third. Catcher Mark Kolozsvary aimed for a double play, but his throw sailed wildly down the left-field line, on-deck hitter Chad Spanberger steered Noda away from the plate and Grudzielanek scored uncontested with the decisive run.
The recipient of the bunt-single/two-error roundtripper was Dalton Rodriguez (Win, 2-0), who pitched the sixth and seventh innings, allowing a game-tying RBI single to Santana in the sixth.
That Santana single capped a prolonged Dragons comeback, with solo tallies in the second, third, fifth and sixth innings matching a four-run Lugnuts rally in the second inning.
Andrew Deramo pitched a scoreless eighth and Matt Shannon (Save, 5) handled a perfect ninth, ensuring that there would be no second comeback.
New acquisition Spanberger, picked up by the Blue Jays from the Colorado Rockies as part of a package for reliever Seunghwan Oh, started at first base and went 2-for-4 with singles to center field in each of his first two Lugnuts at-bats.
Catcher Owen Spiwak had the biggest day at the plate for the Lugnuts, going 2-for-4 with two doubles, including a three-run double in the second inning. Second baseman Samad Taylor chipped in an RBI single.
Lugnuts starting pitcher Matt Gunter gave up three runs in five innings in a no-decision, walking two, striking out two, and allowing solo home runs to Hendrik Clementina and Raul Wallace.
The Lugnuts will go for a fifth win in their last six games on Sunday afternoon at 2:07 p.m. Left-hander Jordan Barrett (4.20 ERA), fresh off seven scoreless innings in his last start, duels with Dragons right-hander Mac Sceroler (6.00).
The Nuts return home to Cooley Law School Stadium from August 1st-3rd, welcoming in these same South Bend Cubs for a brief homestand: Wednesday, August 1st, is a Winning Wednesday; Thursday, August 2nd, is a Labatt Thirsty Thursday - Young Professionals Night; and Friday, August 3rd, is a Family Faith Night with postgame LAFCU Fireworks. To purchase tickets and live the Lug Life, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
# # #