SOUTH BEND, Ind. - After a 3-2 extra-innings walk-off win for the South Bend Silver Hawks (23-17, 67-42) in game one, the Lansing Lugnuts' (14-25, 46-62) offense exploded for a season-high 21 hits in a 12-6 win in game two to earn a split of a Thursday doubleheader at Coveleski Stadium.
The Lugnuts bats exploded early in the nightcap against South Bend starter Kyle Schepel (Loss, 4-2) and never took their foot off the gas.
Christian Lopes hit a three-run homer in the first inning, Dwight Smith, Jr. followed with a two-run homer in the second before Lopes added an RBI double. Kevin Patterson capped the scoring with a two-run homer of his own as the Lugs grabbed an 8-0 lead after just two frames.
Schepel lasted just 1.2 innings in the loss, allowing eight runs - all earned - on 10 Lansing hits. He did not issue a walk or strikeout a batter.
The 21-hit output by Lansing was a season-high, shattering the previous high of 15, done three different times. Lopes was 3-for-5 at the plate, finishing game two a triple short of the cycle with five RBIs. Meanwhile, Smith one-upped himself in game two after a strong game one, finishing 4-for-4 with two RBIs and three runs scored.
Colton Turner (Win, 1-0) pitched three strong innings of relief to earn the win. He allowed a run on two hits with six strikeouts in relief of Matt Boyd. Boyd, making his first professional start as a sixth round pick of the Blue Jays this year, pitched three scoreless, hitless innings with three strikeouts and no walks.
In game one, it was Fidel Pena who led the Silver Hawks to an extra innings victory.
Tied 2-2 in the eighth, Andrew Velazquez beat out an infield single with two outs and promptly stole second base against Ian Kadish (Loss, 4-4) with Pena at the plate. A few pitches later, Pena hit a hard grounder to first that caromed off the glove of a diving Jordan Leyland and into foul territory. Velazquez raced all the way around from second base, beating a throw home to score the game-winning run, giving South Bend a 3-2 victory.
Before that, South Bend had to come back from a 2-0 deficit to force extra innings. Pena led off the fourth with a double, coming around to score on a sacrifice fly by Brandon Drury. In the sixth, Pena singled home a run, scoring Velazquez from third after a costly error in the outfield by Chris Hawkins.
Kendall Graveman received a no-decision for the Lugs in his best professional outing to date. The 8th round pick out of Mississippi State tossed a career-best five innings, allowing just a single run on two hits. He struck out two and did not issue a walk.
South Bend starter Rob Coe also took a no-decision, settling down to last six innings after getting into trouble early. In total, Coe allowed two runs - one earned - on six Lansing hits with one strikeout and one walk in the outing.
Henry Garcia (Win, 5-0) earned the win with a scoreless top of the eighth inning.
Both of Lansing's runs came on sacrifice flies; one by Lopes in the first inning and another by Hawkins in the third. Smith finished 2-for-3 at the plate with a double and also drew a walk in the losing effort.
First pitch of the series finale is set for 7:35 p.m. on Friday night. Lansing's Taylor Cole (5-10, 4.23) will take the mound against South Bend's Jesse Darrah (9-6, 4.03).
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.