LANSING, Mich. - The West Michigan Whitecaps (44-22) collected a Midwest League record 11 doubles, tied a franchise record with 25 hits, and outslugged the Lansing Lugnuts (37-28), 15-8, on Friday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
Coupled with the Dayton Dragons' 4-1 victory in Fort Wayne, the Lugnuts were eliminated from wild-card contention in the first half. A potential playoff push would have to wait for the second half of the season, beginning Thursday.
Lugnuts starter Mike Ellenbest (Loss, 3-5) departed after allowing nine runs (eight earned) on 11 hits and two walks in just 1 1/3 innings.
Trailing 9-0 early, the Lugs rallied to carve the deficit to 9-6 with two-run rallies in the second, third and fourth innings. A chance to come closer, however, died in the glove of right fielder Cole Bauml, tracking down a long fly from Nash Knight at the wall to end a bases-loaded threat in the fourth.
The Whitecaps put the game away with a four-run rally against Yonardo Herdenez in the sixth.
'Caps reliever Jake Shull (Win, 1-1) picked up the victory in relief, tossing 2 1/3 innings, allowing three hits, one run, one walk and two strikeouts. Locke St. John pitched the final three innings for his first save.
In the loss, the Nuts piled up 16 base hits - three from Rodrigo Orozco , and two apiece from Knight, Bo Bichette , Vladimir Guerrero, Jr., Mitch Nay , Ridge Smith and Yeltsin Gudino . Smith reached base four times on two doubles and two walks, and Knight laced his first home run of the year.
The Midwest League's leading hitter, Bichette, finished 2-for-5 with a single and a double to keep his batting average at an exact .400.
Saturday is Star Wars Night, with postgame LAFCU Fireworks! Gates open at 6 p.m. for a 7:05 p.m. first pitch, featuring Lugnuts right-hander Andy Ravel (7.95) against Whitecaps right-hander Spenser Watkins (1.93). Tickets may be purchased at the Cooley Law School Stadium box office, by calling (517) 485-4500 or via lansinglugnuts.com.
# # #
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.