DAYTON, OH – 2018 Toronto Blue Jays 2nd-rounder Griffin Conine made his Midwest League debut with an RBI single and Josh Winckowski tossed seven scoreless innings, leading the Lansing Lugnuts (22-29) past the Dayton Dragons (16-37), 3-1, on Wednesday night at Fifth Third Field.
Reinstated from the Restricted List and added to the Lugnuts’ roster earlier in the day, the 21-year-old Conine, Toronto’s No. 16 prospect, batted third, played right field. He showed off his offensive impact in his third at-bat, driving in Reggie Pruitt with a two-out laser to center field to break a scoreless tie in the sixth.
Jake Brodt followed with a towering two-run homer to left off Dayton starter Ricky Salinas (Loss, 1-3), his team-leading seventh home run of the year, for a 3-0 Lugnuts lead.
The rest of the headlines belonged to the 20-year-old Winckowski (Win, 5-2), who required only 83 pitches, 60 for strikes, in striking out eight while limiting Dayton to four hits and a walk. It was his team-leading sixth quality start out of ten total starts with the Nuts, lowering his ERA to 2.10.
The Dragons scored their only run in the bottom of the eighth against right-hander Sean Rackoski, with Carlos Rivero tripling on a grounder into the Lugnuts’ bullpen, followed by a Randy Ventura sacrifice fly.
Cre Finfrock pitched around a two-out walk in the ninth to record his second save.
Lugnuts shortstop Otto Lopez drew a walk in the first inning, extending his on-base streak to 20 games.
The result sets up a rubber match in the third and final game of the series, with Lansing right-hander Troy Watson (9.00 ERA) taking on Dayton right-hander Jhon De Jesus (6.14) at 7:00 p.m. Thursday. Tune in to the broadcast on Lansing’s Sports Station, The Game 730 AM, beginning with Lugnuts Pregame at 6:45 p.m. with Adam Jaksa and Jesse Goldberg-Strassler.
The Nuts return to Cooley Law School Stadium on Friday for a three-game homestand against the Bowling Green Hot Rods – a homestand featuring Forrest Gump Night on Friday, Mystery Jersey Night on Saturday and a special Delta Dental Kids Day / Rise of the Teenage Mutant Ninja Turtles with TMNT-themed jerseys on Sunday! To live the Lug Life and purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.