SOUTH BEND, Ind. - Graham Spraker set a new career high with seven scoreless innings and a Norberto Obeso two-run single supplied the offense in the Lansing Lugnuts' (15-18, 58-45) 2-1 triumph over the South Bend Cubs (17-16, 51-51) on Thursday night at Four Winds Field.
Thanks to Jordan Barrett firing seven scoreless innings on Monday and Maximo Castillo tossing six shutout frames in the Wednesday series opener, Lugnuts starters have not allowed a run in their last 21 innings.
Spraker (Win, 1-2) gave up five hits, all singles, while walking two and striking out four in his best start as a pro. The 31st-rounder from Quincy University has pitched at least six innings in each of his last three starts, lowering his ERA to 2.63.
After All-Star Javier Assad blanked the Lugnuts for the first five innings, the Lugnuts awakened in the sixth. Samad Taylor led off with a double and Kevin Vicuna walked against reliever Manuel Rodriguez (Loss, 2-3). Ryan Noda flied out to deep right, moving both runners up 90 feet. After Brandon Grudzielanek whiffed for the second out, Obeso hit a bouncer up the middle to bring in both Taylor and Vicuña for a 2-0 lead - and pick up his fourth and fifth RBIs in two games at South Bend.
Orlando Pascual blanked the Cubs in the eighth inning in relief of Spraker, issuing a walk before inducing a 5-4-3 double play.
In the ninth, Austin Upshaw's RBI single off Matt Shannon (Save, 4) put the Cubs on the board. Shannon responded by retiring Delvin Zinn on a lineout to left and striking out both Clayton Daniel and Rafael Narea to end the game.
In the win, Ryan Gold went 2-for-4 with a single and a double and Grudzielanek drew a walk to extend his on-base streak to 13 games.
The Lugnuts go for the series victory at 7:35 p.m. Friday, sending right-hander Kyle Weatherly (3.38 ERA) against South Bend left-hander Brendon Little (4.85) in the rubber match of the three-game series.
The Nuts return home to Cooley Law School Stadium from August 1st-3rd, welcoming in these same South Bend Cubs for a brief homestand: Wednesday, August 1st, is a Winning Wednesday; Thursday, August 2nd, is a Labatt Thirsty Thursday - Young Professionals Night; and Friday, August 3rd, is a Family Faith Night with postgame LAFCU Fireworks. 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.