LANSING, Mich. - 18-year-old Miguel Hiraldo and 19-year-old Yhon Perez swatted key home runs, and the Lansing Lugnuts concluded the 2019 season with a 5-1 victory over the Michigan State University Spartans in front of a crowd of 5,933 in the 13th annual Crosstown Showdown presented by Auto-Owners Insurance on Tuesday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Lugnuts improved to 11-2 in the annual exhibition, winning for the eighth consecutive season.
First baseman PK Morris grabbed the early headlines, winning the pre-game Home Run Derby with a seven-homer first round to best teammates D.J. Daniels and Alberto Rodriguez , and following up with a 10-homer championship round to top Michigan State third baseman Andrew Morrow.
Morris made a quick impact in the game as well, following a Rodriguez leadoff double and a Daniels walk in the second inning with an RBI single to left field off Jesse Heikkinen (Loss), giving the Lugnuts a 1-0 lead.
Second baseman Hiraldo, the Blue Jays' No. 9 prospect, flexed his muscles in the third inning, walloping an opposite-field homer to right-center off Sam Benschoter for a 2-0 lead.
That blast proved significant when Spartans second baseman Peter Ahn led off the fifth with a triple against Rafael Monsion - MSU's first hit of the game - and dashed home on a wild pitch, trimming the Lugnuts' advantage to 2-1.
But Perez gave the Lugnuts breathing room again in the bottom of the fifth inning, pinch-hitting for Hiraldo and belting a three-run roundtripper to left off Zach Iverson.
The Lugnuts' pitchers impressed all evening.
Juan De Paula tossed the first 1 2/3, allowing only a pair of walks, with Juan Nuñez (Win) entering to record the final out of the second.
Roither Hernandez mowed through MSU in the third and fourth innings, striking out three and not allowing a base runner.
Monsion pitched the fifth, recovering after Ahn's triple to strike out the next three hitters.
Austin Havekost pitched a scoreless sixth, striking out two and working around a pair of two-out singles.
And Naswell Paulino locked down the seventh and final frame, striking out two and walking before left fielder Daniels made a superb catch at the wall on a Dillon Kark drive to end the game.
Thus concludes Lugnuts baseball for 2019. Keep updated via lansinglugnuts.com for the latest information approaching the 2020 season - the 25th season of Lugnuts baseball!
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.