MIDLAND, Mich. - Down 3-0 entering the seventh inning, the Lansing Lugnuts (5-7, 37-44) rallied to seize a 4-3 victory over the Great Lakes Loons (6-6, 49-30) on D.J. Neal's two-run double in the ninth in the opener of a four-game home-and-home series on Tuesday night at Dow Diamond.The Lugnuts
MIDLAND, Mich. - Down 3-0 entering the seventh inning, the Lansing Lugnuts (5-7, 37-44) rallied to seize a 4-3 victory over the Great Lakes Loons (6-6, 49-30) on D.J. Neal's two-run double in the ninth in the opener of a four-game home-and-home series on Tuesday night at Dow Diamond.
The Lugnuts improved to 1-37 in 2019 when trailing after eight innings.
Protecting a 3-2 lead, Great Lakes reliever Mark Washington (Blown Save, 1; Loss, 1-1) opened the top of the ninth walking both Johnny Aiello , who was replaced by pinch-runner Hunter Steinmetz , and Hagen Danner . LJ Talley sacrificed his teammates into scoring position and DJ Neal following a sizzler down the first-base line, scoring Steinmetz and Danner with the decisive runs.
The game's top story coming in was Eric Pardinho , the Blue Jays' No. 4 prospect, making his Midwest League debut. Pardinho allowed a two-run homer to the third batter he faced - the only runs the 18-year-old surrendered in four innings, striking out four.
The Loons increased their lead to 3-0 against reliever Cobi Johnson in the sixth inning on a two-out run-scoring fielding error by second baseman Talley.
Great Lakes southpaw Robinson Ortiz tossed six scoreless innings before departing, scattering seven hits.
In the top of the seventh, the Lugnuts began their comeback, edging within 3-1 on a two-out double steal pulled off against Loons reliever Joel Inoa. Talley started for second early, Inoa tossed to second baseman Leonel Valera, Hagen Danner broke for the plate, and Valera's throw sailed wide as Danner scored - the second time in a week's span that Danner had stolen home.
Right fielder Griffin Conine blasted an opposite-field solo home run in the eighth off Inoa to shave the deficit to 3-2, Conine's ninth home run with the Lugnuts, setting up the ninth-inning dramatics.
Johnson (Win, 2-6) fired four innings, allowing one unearned run on three hits and two walks, striking out three.
Cre Finfrock pitched a perfect ninth with two strikeouts for his ninth save.
Conine went 3-for-4 to lead the Lugnuts' offense, with Danner scoring a pair of runs, and Neal, Reggie Pruitt and Otto Lopez each collecting two hits.
Right-hander Fitz Stadler (5.86 ERA) starts the second game of the series, taking on Great Lakes right-hander Stephen Kolek (4.68) at 7:05 p.m. Wednesday at Dow Diamond. The series will then shift to Cooley Law School Stadium for back-to-back LAFCU Fireworks shows on July 4th and 5th. 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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