COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. - The first-place Lansing Lugnuts (16-8) halved a doubleheader against the West Michigan Whitecaps (14-9), winning 1-0 behind the pitching of Yennsy Diaz before dropping the second game, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Ballpark.The Lugnuts finished the five-game, three-day series - featuring doubleheaders on both
COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. - The first-place Lansing Lugnuts (16-8) halved a doubleheader against the West Michigan Whitecaps (14-9), winning 1-0 behind the pitching of Yennsy Diaz before dropping the second game, 3-2, on Sunday afternoon at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The Lugnuts finished the five-game, three-day series - featuring doubleheaders on both Friday and Sunday - with a 3-2 record at West Michigan, building their Eastern Division lead to 1.5 games over the second-place Whitecaps.
In Game 1, Brock Lundquist brought in Christian Williams with a second-inning sacrifice fly, and Diaz (Win, 3-0) made that run stand up. The 21-year-old right-hander held the Whitecaps to a mere two hits and three walks while striking out five batters in six shutout innings. Diaz leads the Midwest League with 28 2/3 innings pitched. He also lowered his league-leading ERA to 0.31, his league-leading WHIP to 0.66 and his league-leading batting average against to .063.
Ty Tice pitched a perfect seventh inning, striking out the final two batters, for his league-leading fifth save.
West Michigan left-hander Eudis Idrogo (Loss, 0-2) pitched the full seven innings in defeat, allowing five hits, two walks and one run, striking out five.
Williams went 2-for-3 with two doubles to lead the Lugnuts offense. The RBI was Lundquist's, 13th in his last six games.
In Game 2, Kevin Smith gave the Lugnuts a quick lead with a first-inning two-run double, only to see the Whitecaps tie the game with a two-run third-inning rally and take lead for good on Alexis Garcia's two-out RBI triple in the fourth.
The game ended dramatically. Facing Whitecaps closer Wladimir Pinto with two outs and no one on base in the top of the seventh, Ryan Noda drew a walk and moved to second on a wild pitch. Lundquist followed with a liner off of Pinto's throwing arm, a single that moved Noda to third base. With the potential tying run 90 feet away and the potential go-ahead run aboard, the bruised Pinto remained in the game and retired pinch-hitter Chavez Young on a groundout to shortstop to end the game and record his fourth save.
West Michigan reliever Oswaldo Castillo (Win, 3-0) pitched three perfect innings, striking out three Lugnuts. Castillo followed spot-starter Dylan Stock, a college closer, who worked the first three innings.
Lansing right-hander Colton Laws (Loss, 0-1) took the defeat in his Midwest League debut, striking out five and giving up three runs on five hits and one walk in four innings.
Andy Ravel pitched a scoreless fifth and Brody Rodning succeeded him with a scoreless sixth to keep the game close.
Lansing's Kevin Smith doubled in both games to extend his on-base streak to 22 games and his hitting streak to 11 games. Smith leads the Midwest League with 10 doubles, 14 extra-base hits, 50 total bases and 25 RBIs.
Following a league-wide off day Monday, the Lugnuts open a six-game homestand on Tuesday at 7:05 p.m. against the Kane County Cougars, a Dollar Deal Day featuring $1 popcorn, $1 ice cream sandwiches, $1 hot dogs, $1 Miller High Life and $1 fountain drinks. To purchase tickets and live the Lug Life, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
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