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Lugnuts smash three home runs in defeat

August 21, 2021

MIDLAND, Mich. – The Lansing Lugnuts (45-50) received home runs from Austin Beck, Yerdel Vargas and Drew Swift – the first professional home run for the Athletics’ eighth-round pick – but fell to the Great Lakes Loons (50-45), 12-5, on Saturday night at Dow Diamond. The Loons countered the Lugnuts’

MIDLAND, Mich. – The Lansing Lugnuts (45-50) received home runs from Austin Beck, Yerdel Vargas and Drew Swift – the first professional home run for the Athletics’ eighth-round pick – but fell to the Great Lakes Loons (50-45), 12-5, on Saturday night at Dow Diamond.

The Loons countered the Lugnuts’ long balls with four roundtrippers of their own, including two homers from Brandon Lewis and a grand slam from Ryan January, giving them ten home runs in the first five games of the series. Lansing pitchers have now allowed at least one home run in 12 straight games.

Beck got the game off to a good start, touching off his sixth home run of the year in High-A, a 433-foot shot to left to spark a two-run first inning.

The Loons tied the game in the third on a Joe Vranesh two-run homer, only to see Swift break the tie in the fourth with a solo shot for a 3-2 lead.

But Great Lakes took the lead for good on January’s grand slam in the bottom of the fourth, with the Lugnuts’ only scoring the rest of the game coming on Vargas’s first home run of the year, a two-run blast to left in the sixth inning.

Kyle Virbitsky, the Athletics’ 17th-round selection in 2021 from Penn State, fired two scoreless innings in his first professional start, striking out one while allowing one hit and one walk.
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Jack Owen, a 2021 free agent from Auburn, did not fare as well in relief, allowing six runs in 1 1/3 innings in relief. **Leudeny Pineda tossed the next 2 2/3 innings, striking out four and giving up a solo homer to Lewis. Charlie Cerny struck out three in the seventh, allowing four runs on three hits.

Lansing catcher William Simoneit took the mound in the eighth, his third relief appearance, striking out Lewis with an eephus and allowing one run on two hits.

In the loss, Lansing third baseman Jordan Díaz went 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk and left fielder Cobie Vance went 2-for-4 with an RBI single, a triple and a run scored.

Right-hander Reid Birlingmair (4.62 ERA) starts the series finale at 1:05 p.m. Sunday, the last of 24 meetings between the two teams this year. Great Lakes counters with lefty Alec Gamboa (3.90 ERA). For more information, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.

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