Lugnuts unable to manage Loons’ mischief

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LANSING, Mich. – In front of a season high crowd of 10,824 on Harry Potter Night at Cooley Law School Stadium, the Great Lakes Loons (34-27, 77-51) rode a gem from Robinson Ortiz to an 8-1 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (31-30, 63-67) in the Saturday night opener of a four-game series.

It was the largest crowd in the Midwest League this year, the fourth largest crowd in post-renovation stadium history, and the largest non-July 4th crowd since 2013 in Lansing.

19-year-old Ortiz (Win, 3-5) struck out five in seven innings, holding the Lugnuts to four hits, one walk, and a second-inning Rafael Lantigua RBI groundout.

The Loons’ offense took control of the game early, scoring four runs in the first innings off Lugnuts starter Fitz Stadler (Loss, 5-7) on five consecutive hits – the first of 11 hits and seven runs scored against Stadler in 4 2/3 innings.

Josh Hiatt pitched the next three innings, allowing three hits and one run, striking out three. Jose Espada finished with 1 1/3 perfect innings.

In the loss, Otto Lopez, the Midwest League’s leading hitter, went 1-for-4 with his league-leading 132nd hit of the year, lowering his batting average to .320.

Nuts right-hander Troy Watson (3.44 ERA) starts the second game of the four-game series against Loons right-hander Ryan Pepiot (1.84 ERA) at 1:05 p.m. Sunday on a special Delta Dental Kids Day: Big Lug’s Birthday! 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.