LANSING, Mich. - Andy Ravel turned in one of his best starts of the year and the Lansing Lugnuts (8-16, 45-45) used a nine-run eighth-inning to run away from the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (11-13, 37-55) in a 14-2 win on Sunday afternoon at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Rattlers took an early 2-0 lead, thanks to a Tucker Newhaus second-inning home run and an unearned third-inning tally. Ravel (Win, 6-4) was in command otherwise, striking out seven batters while walking none and scattering six hits in 6 2/3 innings.
But the Nuts managed only one hit and one unearned run against Wisconsin starter Cameron Roegner in the first five innings - before a bullpen implosion changed the game.
Javier Hernandez sparked the offensive fireworks in the bottom of the sixth, greeting reliever Nattino Diplan (Loss, 2-7) with a home run to right field, his first homer with the Lugnuts, tying the game at 2-2. The Nuts tacked on two more runs in the sixth against Diplan on an Edward Olivares RBI double and a Nash Knight RBI single, pushing their lead to 5-2 in the seventh on a Joshua Palacios RBI double.
That set up the party in the eighth.
14 Lugnuts batters came up against Diplan and fellow reliever Colton Cross, with seven hits, two walks, one error, and one hit-by-pitch. Diplan ended up tagged with seven runs on nine hits in 2 1/3 innings; Cross gave up six runs (three earned) in just 2/3 of an inning. Highlights included consecutive two-run doubles from Hernandez and Rodrigo Orozco . Luis Silva did them one better, delivering an RBI double and an RBI single before the inning came to an end.
The Lugnuts' bullpen was far more effective. Nick Hartman pitched 1 1/3 scoreless innings, stranding two inherited runners in the seventh. Geno Encina struck two batters in a perfect ninth.
Palacios led the Nuts' 14-hit attack by going 3-for-5 with three runs scored and two of the team's seven doubles. All nine members of the starting lineup hit safely; all but Ridge Smith scored at least one run; and all but Yeltsin Gudino collected at least one RBI.
The victory sets up a Monday rubber match in the homestand finale, a 12:05 p.m. Dog Days of Summer. Nuts right-hander Kyle Weatherly (0-1, 67.50) starts against Rattlers right-hander Victor Diaz (0-3, 5.75). 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.