In final Copa de la Diversión game, Locos surprise Dragons, 9-6

By  | 

LANSING, Mich. – Held to two hits and one run through six innings, the Lansing Locos (29-26, 61-63) roared to life in a six-run seventh, defeating the Dayton Dragons (23-32, 51-74), 9-6, on a Sunday afternoon at Cooley Law School Stadium.

Lansing improved to 4-1 while wearing the Locos’ jewel blue and marigold jerseys and caps, the club’s final scheduled Copa de la Diversión day in 2019, part of Minor League Baseball’s nationwide Latinx outreach initiative.

Ryan Gold’s 421-foot first-inning solo home run, the catcher’s seventh roundtripper of the year, had been the Locos’ only tally, trailing 4-1 entering the bottom of the seventh against Dayton reliever Jerry D’Andrea (Loss, 0-4).

Griffin Conine opened the inning with a single to right and Rafael Lantigua crushed a 409-foot home run to left, bringing the Locos within 4-3. It was Lantigua’s third home run of the season – all collected in the past week’s worth of games. LJ Talley followed with a single up the middle, Jake Brodt reached on an error by third baseman Juan Martinez and Hunter Steinmetz drew a walk, loading the bases with none out and ending the day for D’Andrea.

He was replaced by Andrew McDonald, who retired DJ Neal on a liner to short for the first out. But Otto Lopez, who had previously extended his hitting streak to 19 games with a bunt single, drove in Talley with a single through the right side of the infield, and Yorman Rodriguez plated Brodt with a single off of pitcher McDonald, putting the Locos in front.

After a Gold strikeout, Conine delivered the crowning blow, drilling a two-run double to left-center for a 7-4 lead, capping the inning.

Brodt added a two-run homer in the eighth off McDonald, his 13th home run of the year, for a bit of insurance – which came in handy when Dayton center fielder Michael Siani slugged a two-run homer in the ninth off Cre Finfrock.

Locos starter Sean Wymer struck out four batters over six innings in a no-decision, allowing two runs in each of the first two innings before blanking the Dragons for his final four frames.

Reliever Will McAffer (Win, 4-3) pitched the seventh and eighth innings scorelessly, allowing one hit, walking one and striking out two, before yielding to Finfrock for the ninth.

The game’s first pitch was delayed 44 minutes by the threat of a thunderstorm, but the front moved north and the game ended up seeing only a brief early mist of rain on a beautiful 81-degree day.

Lansing and Dayton play the third game of their four-game series on a Dollar Monday at 7:05 p.m., with $1 hot dogs, $1 popcorn, $1 ice cream sandwiches, $1 fountain drinks and $1 Miller High Life. Lansing right-hander Fitz Stadler (4.84 ERA) takes on Dragons right-hander Adrian Rodriguez (3.67) in the starting matchup. 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.