Lugnuts edge Dragons as Tom Nichols calls his 4,000th career game


The Lansing Lugnuts scored two runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to take a 4-3 lead and then held on to defeat the Dayton Dragons 5-4 on Wednesday night.  The game was the opener to a three-game series and the seventh game of the Dragons 13-game road trip.

Lansing led 2-0 before the Dragons scored three runs in the top of the sixth to take the lead.  The Dayton rally began with two outs and the bases empty when Jose Garcia delivered a single to center field.  Garcia went from first to third on Andy Sugilio’s single to right, and Jonathan India followed with a line drive hit to right to drive in Garcia and make it 2-1.  Hendrik Clementina followed with a slow bouncer to third base.  Lansing’s Jesus Navarro made a bare-handed pick-up, but his throw to first skipped down the right field line as both Sugilio and India scored to give the Dragons a 3-2 lead.

Lansing scored two runs with two outs in the sixth, getting back-to-back RBI singles against Dragons reliever Wendolyn Bautista, and they added a run in the eighth against Dauri Moreta to make it 5-3.

Clementina led off the Dayton ninth inning with a long home run to left field to make it 5-4.  It was Clementina’s 16th home run of the season.  One batter later, Reshard Munroe drew a one-out walk to put the tying run on base, but the game ended when Mark Kolozsvary grounded into a double play.

Dragons starting pitcher Austin Orewiler (4-4) left the game in the sixth inning with two men on base and a 3-2 lead.  But both runners eventually scored and Orewiler’s final statistical line showed five innings of work, four runs allowed on nine hits with two walks and two strikeouts.  He was charged with the loss.

Alejo Lopez went 3 for 4 to lead a nine-hit Dayton attack.  Lopez extended his hitting streak to 11 straight games, matching the team season high for 2018 set by Michael Beltre and Stuart Fairchild.  Lopez raised his batting average for the year to .329.  He is 21 for 47 (.447) during the hitting streak.  Clementina also had two hits in the game for Dayton.

In the Standings:  The Dragons fell to 20-25 in the second half.  Despite going 2-5 on the road trip to date, they are still only one-half game behind Fort Wayne in the race for the final playoff spot in the Midwest League’s East Division Second Half race.  There are 25 games to play.

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