LANSING, MI - The Lansing Lugnuts scored three times in the bottom of the sixth inning of game one of a doubleheader to beat the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers 5-3. The Lugnuts got consecutive homers to start their game winning rally.
The Timber Rattlers (8-14) took the lead with three straight two-out hits in the top of the third. Victor Roache had started the inning with a single, but he was still at first with two outs in the frame. Roache would steal second base to get into scoring position. Then, Chris McFarland doubled down the right field line to drive in Roache. Mike Garza followed with an RBI single to make the score 2-0.
Garza stole second to get into scoring position. Orlando Arcia grounded a single up the middle that Lansing shortstop Jorge Flores made a diving stop in short center and flipped the ball to second baseman Christian Lopes who tried to throw behind Garza at third base. But, the throw from Lopes sailed to the stands to allow Garza to score for a 3-0 lead.
Lansing (8-15) rallied in the bottom of the second with some help from the Rattlers. Chris Hawkins reached on a bunt single and took second on a throwing error to start the inning. Shane Opitz tripled with one out to knock in Hawkins. Rattlers starting pitcher Mike Strong walked the next two batters to load the bases. Strong would get Dwight Smith, Jr. to pop up to short right for an infield fly rule, but the ball was dropped to allow Opitz to score.
Strong regrouped and got the final out of the inning to keep the Rattlers up 3-2.
The Rattlers lefty made it tough on himself again in the bottom of the fourth. He walked the leadoff batter, got the next two outs, and walked two more to load the bases. Strong would get the final out on a strikeout to escape again with Wisconsin still in front 3-2.
Lansing struck in a hurry in the bottom of the sixth inning against reliever Taylor Mangum. Kellen Sweeney and Smith. hit back-to-back homers with one out to put Lansing up 4-3. Flores followed with a double. An RBI single by Dalton Pompey drove in Flores and the Lansing lead was 5-3.
Reliever Wil Browning, who worked a 1-2-3 sixth inning, allowed a leadoff double to Mike Garza in the top of the seventh. But, Browning retired the next three batters to end the game.
The Lugnuts ended their five game losing streak and sent the Rattlers to their fourth straight setback with the comeback in game one.
Kellen Sweeney (2nd, 0 on in 6th inning off Taylor Mangum, 1 out)
Dwight Smith, Jr. (1st, 0 on in 6th inning off Taylor Mangum, 1 out)
WP: Wil Browning (2-3)
LP: Taylor Mangum (1-2)