LANSING, Mich. – In front of a season-high crowd of 9,798 on Independence Day, Gabriel Moreno swatted his sixth home run of the year in the Lansing Lugnuts’ (6-8, 38-45) 8-1 loss to the Great Lakes Loons (7-7, 50-31) on Thursday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.
The game included a 58-minute rain delay in the middle of the third inning, pushing back the game’s conclusion and leading to the City of Lansing’s fireworks show serving as the backdrop for the eighth inning and top of the ninth, lighting up the sky above the right-field wall.
The Lugnuts entered the delay trailing 1-0, but Moreno led off the fourth inning against Jose Martinez with a 387-foot home run to left-center, tying the score.
With the game still tied 1-1 entering the sixth inning, the first five Loons reached base and scored against reliever Joey Pulido (Loss, 2-4). Luke Heyer supplied the pivotal blow, launching a bases-loaded drive to center field. Bases umpire A.J. Choc initially ruled the ball in play, off the top of the wall, with Heyer held at first with a two-run single. Upon conferring with home-plate umpire Emma Charlesworth-Seiler, however, Choc changed the call to a grand slam. Lansing manager Dallas McPherson offered a differing perspective, leading to his third ejection of the year.
The Loons added an unearned run in the seventh against Juan Nuñez and a final tally in the eighth off Will McAffer, closing out the scoring.
Loons starter Martinez (Win, 5-1) tossed five innings, allowing three hits and one run, walking one and striking out six. Lansing starter Troy Miller, on the other hand, worked three innings, allowing four hits and one run, with his stint ended by the rain delay.
Moreno went 2-for-4 in the loss for the Lugnuts, with Griffin Conine, Rafael Lantigua and Reggie Pruitt each adding a single.
The finale of the home-and-home four-game series will also feature post-game LAFCU Fireworks, with right-hander Sean Wymer (6.66 ERA) dueling with Loons right-hander Jose Chacin (5.08) at 7:05 p.m. Friday. 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.