LANSING – The Lansing Lugnuts bolted out to a four lead Friday night but could not hold on as the Kane County Cougars took a 7-4 win over Lansing before 3,123 fans at Oldsmobile Park. The win secures a series victory for the Cougars and marks the third straight set that the Lugnuts have dropped.
Lansing scored all four of its runs in the first inning off of Kane County starting pitcher Scott Mitchinson. Justin Jackson led the game off with a single to left field and quickly moved to second on a Mitchinson wild pitch. Kevin Ahrens then ripped a single to right, scoring Jackson and making it a 1-0 game. Darin Mastroianni and Jonathan Jaspe each reached base following Ahrens to load the bases with no men out. After John Tolisano popped out, Manny Rodriguez sent an fly ball off of the right-center field wall, plating two runs and pushing the lead to 3-0. The scoring would be complete when Jaspe scampered home from third base on a passed ball.
However Mitchinson was able to settle down after the first, retiring the final 13 batters that he faced to keep his team in the game.
Lansing starter Luis Perez worked a strong first and worked himself out of a bases loaded, no out situation in the second to keep the Lugnuts ahead 4-0. But it was in the fourth inning when the Cougars began to mount their comeback.
Jake Smith doubled to start the inning and promptly scored on a Todd Johnson double that made it a
4-1 affair. Christian Vitters then singled to put runners at the corners for Jonathan Johnston. Johnston laid down a bunt that scored Johnson from third, cutting the lead to 4-2. On that play, Perez fired a ball past the first baseman Mike McDade into right field, allowing Vitters a chance to score from first base. However he was thrown out by Moises Sierra at home plate, as Jaspe held onto the ball after Vitters crashed into him. The hit knocked Jaspe out of the game.
The Cougars scored once more in the fourth before repeating the feat in the fifth to take the lead. Smith's RBI double tied the game, and he would later score on a double by Vitters that made it 5-4. Walter Correa's RBI double pushed the lead to 6-4 for Kane County.
They would add their final run in the sixth when Corey Brown drove a solo homer over the left field wall to end the scoring for the night.
Mitchinson (2-0) got the win by throwing six innings and limiting the Lugnuts to just the four first inning runs.
Perez (0-2) shouldered the loss after yielding six runs in 4 1/3 innings of work.
Scott Moore picked up his third save of the year.
Lansing (8-7) and Kane County (14-1) will finish the series on Saturday afternoon at Oldsmobile Park. Trystan Magnuson (0-2, 3.68) will take the mound for the Lugnuts, while Scott Hodsdon (0-1, 3.12) will hurl for the Cougars. First pitch is scheduled for 2:05 p.m.