EASTLAKE, OH - Johnny Aiello drew a tie-breaking, two-out, bases-loaded walk in the top of the ninth, and the Lansing Locos (9-8, 41-45) defeated los Picantes de Lake County (10-7, 50-36), 3-2, in a Copa de la Diversion Sunday matinee at Classic Park.
Lansing has won five of its last six games overall and the first two games of the three-game series against Lake County.
With the score tied at 2-2 entering the ninth, Hunter Steinmetz led off with a single to left field off Picantes reliever Kellen Rholl (Loss, 1-2). Otto Lopez struck out after failing to lay down a bunt, Gabriel Moreno reached on an infield single, Griffin Conine struck out, and Ryan Gold drew a five-pitch walk to load the bases with two outs. Aiello swung and missed at the first pitch he received from Rholl before taking four consecutive deliveries outside the zone, forcing in Steinmetz with the tie-breaking run.
The Locos had previously built a 2-0 lead on a Moreno RBI double and Conine RBI single in the third inning against Lake County starter Thomas Ponticelli.
In the home half of the third inning, facing Lansing starter Cobi Johnson , Josh Rolette reached on a fielding error by shortstop Otto Lopez and was singled home by Quentin Holmes to trim the lead to 2-1.
The Picantes tied the score in the seventh on another Locos error, with Rolette reaching on a two-base fielding error by first baseman Jake Brodt and coming home on a Makesiondon Kelkboom sacrifice fly.
The Locos used four pitchers: Johnson worked the first three innings, striking out three; Joey Pulido pitched the fourth and fifth innings scorelessly, fanning three batters; Will McAffer (Win, 2-3) took care of the next three innings, striking out three more Picantes; and Juan Nuñez pitched a scoreless ninth inning for his first save.
18-year-old Eric Pardinho (4.50 ERA) makes his second Lansing start in the series finale, a 7 p.m. affair Monday with the Lugnuts going for the sweep. Lake County counters with right-hander Alex Royalty (3.90).
The Nuts' next homestand runs from July 17-22 against the Burlington Bees and Clinton LumberKings. To live the Lug Life and purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com, call (517) 485-4500 or come to the Cooley Law School Stadium box office at 505 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Lansing.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.