DAYTON, OH - Mattingly Romanin hit a game-tying single in the seventh, J.B. Woodman lined a tie-breaking two-run triple in the eighth, and the Lansing Lugnuts (17-25, 54-54) beat the Dayton Dragons (13-29, 54-58), 4-1, on Saturday night at Fifth Third Field.
The Lugnuts have won six of their last seven meetings with the Dragons.
The game began with the anticipated matchup of Diaz, MLB.com's No. 27 Blue Jays prospect, dueling with Tony Santillan, MLB.com's No. 15 Reds prospect. It lived up to expectations: Diaz struck out nine batters in six innings, allowing only a Bruce Yari second-inning solo home run, while Santillan struck out ten batters in 6 2/3 innings, blanking the Lugnuts until Romanin's RBI single.
The battle of the bullpens was far more decisive. After Carlos Machorro (Loss, 2-3) gave up a one-out single to Joshua Palacios in the eighth, Joel Kuhnel gave up a single to Mitch Nay before Woodman tripled in both men for a 3-1 lead. Yeltsin Gudino punched the next pitch into right field for an RBI single, bringing in Woodman.
Meanwhile, Juliandry Higuera (Win, 3-0) and Jared Carkuff (Save, 4) combined for three perfect frames, with Higuera handling the seventh and eighth innings before yielding to Carkuff for the ninth.
Woodman stood out among the Lugnuts' offensive performers, going 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and two runs batted in.
The second game of the four-game series is set for 2 p.m. on Sunday, with Lansing right-hander Patrick Murphy (3-2, 2.64) taking on Dragons right-hander Andrew Jordan (5-7, 4.74).
Gear up for the next Nuts homestand, stretching from Thursday, August 10, through Sunday, August 13, and beginning with a Labatt Thirsty Thursday featuring $2 beers/sodas and half off craft beers! Tickets may be purchased at the Cooley Law School Stadium box office, by calling (517) 485-4500 or via lansinglugnuts.com.
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This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.