LANSING, Mich. – Henry Pujols and Hosea Nelson hit back-to-back home runs in a pivotal seventh inning to back Eli Lingos’s five scoreless innings of relief, helping the Lake County Captains (5-1, 45-30) double up the Lansing Lugnuts (3-3, 35-40), 6-3, in a Wednesday matinee at Cooley Law School Stadium.
In the loss, Lugnuts shortstop Otto Lopez went 1-for-4 to extend his team-high on-base streak to 27 games.
Hunter Steinmetz homered in the third inning, his first Midwest League roundtripper, and drove in a run in the fourth inning with a fielder’s choice to give the Lugnuts a 2-1 lead. Hagen Danner followed by stealing home on the back end of a double steal for a 3-1 lead against Lake County starter Thomas Ponticelli.
That, as it turned out, was all for the Lugs’ offense. Left-hander Lingos (Win, 2-0) relieved Ponticelli beginning the fifth inning and recorded the final 15 outs scorelessly, working around three hits and three walks while striking out five.
Pujols drew the Captains within 3-2 with an RBI double off Lansing starter Troy Watson in the fifth.
Joey Pulido (Blown Save, 1; Loss, 2-3) blanked the Caps in the sixth before Pujols launched his first home run of the year with one out in the seventh, tying the score at 3-3. Nelson followed with his second home run of the game, pushing the visitors into the lead. It was the first time that the Nuts had allowed back-to-back home runs since Bowling Green’s Trey Hair and Ronaldo Hernandez achieved the feat on October 22, 2018.
Justin Watts made his Lugnuts debut with a scoreless eighth inning before the Captains closed out the game with two runs against Juan Nuñez in the ninth.
Lake County’s Nelson finished the game with a walk, a single, two homers and three runs scored in the win. Steinmetz and Gabriel Moreno each went 2-for-4 in defeat.
The third game of the four-game series is Salute to Canadian Tuxedos / Labatt Blue Thirsty Thursday with $1/$2/$3 draft beer specials and $3 wine at 7:05 p.m. Thursday. Lugnuts right-hander Cobi Johnson (5.18 ERA) duels with Captains right-hander Alex Royalty (4.10) 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.