LANSING, Mich. - Ryan Noda smashed a two-run homer in the first inning and a three-run homer to cap a seven-run fourth, leading the Lansing Lugnuts (20-19, 63-46) to a comfortable 10-3 win over the South Bend Cubs (17-22, 51-57) on a Winning Wednesday at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The streaking Lugnuts have won six of their last seven games and seven of their last nine following a nine-game losing skid.
Noda's power has been similarly streaky: The former Cincinnati Bearcat did not homer until May 30th, then blasted 11 home runs between May 30th and July 6th, and had not dialed long distance since - before taking Cubs All-Star Javier Assad (Loss, 5-6) deep to right-center with Samad Taylor aboard in the bottom of the first.
Three innings later, the Lugnuts broke the game wide open. Ryan Gold delivered an RBI single, Jesus Navarro lined a sacrifice fly to center field and Chavez Young drew a bases-loaded walk. Garrett Kelly relieved Assad and tossed a run-scoring wild pitch before serving up a pitch that Noda launched comfortably over the center-field.
The Cubs scored their only runs on sacrifice flies, with former MSU Spartan Brandon Hughes supplying the first in the third inning against Lugnuts starter Kyle Weatherly (Win, 3-1) and Jimmy Herron and Clayton Daniel lofting back-to-back sac flies in the eighth against Orlando Pascual .
Speedy Reggie Pruitt closed out the scoring in the bottom of the eighth, drawing his third walk of the game before coming home on the third passed ball of the night by South Bend catcher Cam Balego.
Weatherly pitched five innings in the victory, striking out three while allowing five hits, one walk and one run.
Matt Shannon blanked the Cubs in the sixth and seventh, striking out three.
After giving up two runs in the eighth, Pascual pitched a perfect ninth to put the game on ice.
Third baseman Brandon Grudzielanek went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored to increase his on-base streak to 19 games, second longest of the Lugnuts' season.
Left-hander Matt Gunter (4.99 ERA) gets the start against Cubs lefty Brendon Little (4.88) for the second game in the three-game series, a Labatt Thirsty Thursday - Young Professionals Night with $2 beer/pop/wine and half off craft beers. To purchase tickets and live the Lug Life, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.