LANSING– For the first time since Opening Day, the Lansing Lugnuts failed to garner double-digit hits. They still won. Lansing used a powerful first inning en route to a 9-3 thrashing of the South Bend Silver Hawks Tuesday night before 1,317 fans at Oldsmobile Park. The win is the fifth straight for the Lugnuts, who managed nine knocks in the game.
Lansing's half of the first inning started quietly, as Justin Jackson and Kevin Ahrens each made outs to start the game while facing South Bend hurler Jordan Norberto. Darin Mastroianni then drew a walk to start what would become a six-run rally. Jonathan Jaspe followed Mastroianni with a double to left-center that plated the speedster from first to make it 1-0. After John Tolisano singled, Manny Rodriguez blasted a three-run homer to center field to push the lead to 4-0. It was his second three-run homer in as many nights.
The outburst continued for the Lugnuts as Yohermyn Chavez and Raul Barron each reached base. Moises Sierra's two-run single scored both of them to cap the rally at 6-0. All six runs were scored off of Norberto (0-2), who suffered the loss.
The run support was more than enough for the Lugnuts pitching staff. Trystan Magnuson bounced back from a shaky debut on Thursday to throw 3 2/3 innings of scoreless baseball. He allowed just one hit in the outing.
Chi-Hung Cheng (1-0), who got the win in relief, took over from there as he tossed three innings and allowed three runs on four hits.
Ross Buckwalter chipped in with 2 1/3 innings, surrendering just one hit in the appearance.
Lansing added another run in the second inning and two more in the fifth to take a 9-0 lead. Rodriguez had an RBI double in the fifth, giving him four in the game for the second straight night. He now has 11 RBI in the last four games.
All three of South Bend's runs came in the seventh, highlighted by an Eli Rumler two-run homer.
Lansing (5-1) and South Bend (0-6) will continue the series on Wednesday evening. Kyle Ginley (1-0, 1.50) will make his second start of the season for the Lugnuts, while Bryan Augenstein (0-0, 0.00) will go after the Silver Hawks' first win of the year. First pitch is slated for 6:05 p.m.