LANSING, Mich. - Griffin Conine slugged a monstrous two-run homer and added an RBI double, helping the Lansing Lugnuts (14-12, 46-49) build a five-run lead before pulling out a 5-4 victory over the Burlington Bees (11-15, 50-46) before a crowd of 6,308 on Thursday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.The
LANSING, Mich. - Griffin Conine slugged a monstrous two-run homer and added an RBI double, helping the Lansing Lugnuts (14-12, 46-49) build a five-run lead before pulling out a 5-4 victory over the Burlington Bees (11-15, 50-46) before a crowd of 6,308 on Thursday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The Lugnuts and Bees have split the first two games of the three-game set, with the series to be decided on Friday night with postgame LAFCU Fireworks.
Burlington starter Dylan King (Loss, 0-1) lasted only two innings plus two batters, serving up Conine's 13th home run of the year, a two-run shot, in the first inning; a Hunter Steinmetz sacrifice fly in the second inning; and a Conine RBI double in the third inning.
Kyle Tyler relieved King with Conine aboard, allowing the inherited run to score on a Johnny Aiello fielder's choice that extended the Lugnuts' lead to 5-0.
That was all, however, that the Nuts were able to manage against Tyler, who threw six scoreless innings in relief with five strikeouts while allowing two hits and three walks.
Burlington began its comeback in the fourth inning, tallying three runs against Lansing starter Juan De Paula to pull within 5-3. De Paula finished his four innings with five hits, one walk and five strikeouts.
Kevin Maitan's solo home run in the fifth, his seventh homer of the year, off of Will McAffer , shaving the Nuts' lead to one run. It was the only run allowed by McAffer in three innings, who struck out five batters.
Cre Finfrock recorded the final six outs for his 12th save of the year, erasing a one-out single in the eighth with a double-play ball and then working around two walks in the ninth by freezing Jordyn Adams with his second strikeout to end the game.
Two Lugnuts defensive plays loomed large as the night came to a close: In the third inning, Morgan McCullough attempted to score from first on an Alvaro Rubalcaba double, but center fielder Steinmetz relayed to shortstop Otto Lopez whose throw to catcher Gabriel Moreno was in time to tag out McCullough at the plate. And in the seventh inning, with the runners at first and second and two outs, third baseman Aiello made a diving stop to his right of a Maitan grounder, regaining his footing to throw to first in time, thus saving a run and ending the inning.
In the win, Conine finished 2-for-3 with a walk, two runs scored and three runs batted in, Moreno went 2-for-3 with two singles, a walk and two runs scored, and Aiello drew two walks to extend his on-base streak to 18 games.
Right-hander Fitz Stadler (5.37 ERA) starts the Friday night rubber match at 7:05 p.m. against Bees left-hander Hector Yan (3.84), with gates opening at 6 p.m. 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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