LANSING, Mich. - Will Banfield hooked a go-ahead two-run double down the left-field line in the sixth inning, and the Clinton LumberKings (21-9, 54-45) bested the Lansing Lugnuts (15-15, 47-52), 4-2, in the rubber match of a three-game series on Monday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.The result marked the
LANSING, Mich. - Will Banfield hooked a go-ahead two-run double down the left-field line in the sixth inning, and the Clinton LumberKings (21-9, 54-45) bested the Lansing Lugnuts (15-15, 47-52), 4-2, in the rubber match of a three-game series on Monday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The result marked the conclusion of regular-season interdivision play between the Eastern Division (including Lansing) and the Western Division (including Clinton), with the Lugnuts finishing 6-6 against the West in the second half and 9-15 overall.
Lugnuts center fielder Tanner Kirwer 's tie-breaking RBI triple off 'Kings starter Jake Walters in the bottom of the fifth inning had given the Lugnuts a 2-1 lead - though Kirwer was thrown out at the plate attempting to stretch it to an inside-the-park home run.
But in the top of the sixth inning, the LumberKings responded with back-to-back singles by Davis Bradshaw and Christopher Torres against Lugnuts reliever Sean Wymer (Loss, 5-9). Wymer retired Connor Scott on a flyout and Peyton Burdick on a strikeout before Banfield sent a fly ball toward the left-field corner. Hunter Steinmetz attempted a sliding catch but could not hang on as Bradshaw and Torres scored for a Clinton 3-2 lead.
The Lugnuts responded in the bottom of the sixth inning, putting runners at second and third base with none out thanks to an alert double steal by Johnny Aiello and Rafael Lantigua when third baseman Bubba Hollins, expecting a bunt, charged home too soon and vacated his base. But 'Kings catcher Banfield picked Aiello off third base, LJ Talley popped to short and DJ Neal grounded to short, ending the threat.
The LumberKings added insurance in the ninth. Evan Edwards led off with a double. One batter later, catcher Gabriel Moreno attempted to pick Edwards off second base, but his throw bounced past second baseman Lantigua into center field, allowing Edwards to race all the way around for a two-run Clinton lead.
Clinton starter Walters (Win, 2-3) pitched six innings, allowing two unearned runs on seven hits, walking one and striking out three. After Elkin Alcala pitched two scoreless innings, Cam Baird struck out the side in the ninth for his second save.
Returning from the Injured List, Lugnuts starter Josh Hiatt gave up one unearned run in three innings in his first start since June 15th. Wymer followed with 5 2/3 innings of relief, giving up seven hits and three runs (two earned) with five strikeouts. Cre Finfrock tossed one pitch, recording a groundout for the final out of the ninth.
In the loss, Hunter Steinmetz went 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk, and Johnny Aiello was 1-for-3 with a hit-by-pitch to extend his on-base streak to 21 games.
The Lugnuts enjoy a Midwest League off day on Tuesday before playing at West Michigan from Wednesday through Friday. The Nuts' next home game is on Saturday, July 27, Oregon Trail Night with a Daniel Norris Bobblehead Giveaway!
To live the Lug Life and purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com, call (517) 485-4500 or come to the Cooley Law School Stadium box office at 505 E. Michigan Ave. in downtown Lansing.
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