CLINTON, Ia. - Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. went 3-for-3 with two doubles and two walks, and the Lansing Lugnuts (17-12) enjoyed a slim 4-3 series-opening victory over the Clinton LumberKings (11-18) on Monday night at Ashford University Field.
The 18-year-old Guerrero knocked a two-out double in the first inning (scoring on a Bradley Jones RBI single), doubled again in the third, singled in the fifth, and drew walks in the seventh and eighth innings. He has reached base in all 26 games played this season.
It was arguably his single in the fifth that proved the most valuable. Christian Williams broke a 3-3 tie with a two-out double, driving in Guerrero to give the Lugnuts the lead for good.
Starter Mike Ellenbest (Win, 1-2) struck out six batters in six innings, allowing three runs (two earned). He was relieved by Tayler Saucedo (Save, 1), who held the LumberKings to two hits and one walk, striking out four, in pitching the final three innings.
Clinton's best chance came in the bottom of the eighth inning, placing runners at second and third with one out. Saucedo responded by striking out both Gareth Morgan and Nick Thurman to end the threat.
The Nuts finished with 12 hits, raising their league-leading team batting average to .281. Both Joshua Palacios and Michael De La Cruz finished with two-hit nights, supplementing Guerrero's performance.
The middle affair of the three-game series is slated for a 1 p.m. Eastern start, featuring Lansing right-hander Andy Ravel (2-0, 7.36) against Clinton left-hander Nick Wells (0-2, 6.00).
The next Lansing Lugnuts homestand runs from Monday, May 15th, through Wednesday, May 17th, against the Fort Wayne TinCaps. Tickets may be purchased at the Cooley Law School Stadium box office, by calling (517) 485-4500 or via lansinglugnuts.com.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.