DAYTON, OH - Lansing Lugnuts starter Andy Ravel recorded only one out, departing amid a seven-run Dayton Dragons first inning. Then the Lugnuts' Midwest League-leading offense went to work.
Bradley Jones slugged three-run homers in the seventh and eighth innings, and the Lugnuts (7-4) tied the Dragons (7-4) at the top of the Eastern Division standings with a dramatic 13-9 series-opening victory on Monday night at Fifth Third Field.
Video: Bradley Jones clubs his second homer of game
Lansing scored three runs in the second inning, a run in the sixth, and three in the seventh on a game-tying home run by Jones off reliever Lucas Benanati, knotting the score at 8-8.
The eighth inning opened with Dayton reliever Andy Cox (Loss, 1-1) hitting Joshua Palacios with a pitch. Two batters later, Bo Bichette coaxed a walk from new reliever Ryan Hendrix and Vladimir Guerrero, Jr. followed with a tie-breaking RBI single up the middle. That brought up Jones, who clouted his fourth home run of the season to give the Lugnuts breathing space.
Edward Olivares iced the game in the ninth with a solo homer against Hendrix.
The rally was made possible by the work of the Nuts' bullpen. Griffin Glaude set the early tone, striking out six batters in 3 2/3 innings and holding the Dragons scoreless from the second through the fourth innings. Kirby Snead allowed a run on four walks in the fifth, stranding the bases loaded. Philip Walby (Win, 1-0) followed with 2 2/3 innings, holding the Dragons to an eighth-inning tally. Jackson McClelland (Save, 2) locked down the final four outs without allowing a hit or a run.
The Lugnuts' offense was led by Jones, who went 3-for-5 in supplying the second six-RBI performance by a Lugnut this season (Ryan Hissey, April 9th); Palacios, who added two hits, two runs, two RBIs and a walk in his return from the Disabled List; and Olivares - mired in a 5-for-40 slump entering the game - went 3-for-4 with a walk, two steals, three runs scored, and his third home run of the season.
The middle affair of the three-game series is set for 7:00 p.m. Tuesday, featuring Lansing right-hander Justin Maese (1-1, 4.91) against Dragons lefty Scott Moss (0-1, 6.23).
The Nuts return home on Thursday, April 20th, opening a seven-game homestand with a Labatt Thirsty Thursday featuring $2 beers and sodas, plus 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.