Strong pitching weakens Lugnuts’ bats

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LANSING, Mich. – Sean Wymer struck out seven batters in 5 2/3 innings and Otto Lopez extended his on-base streak to 30 games, but the Lansing Lugnuts (4-6, 36-43) were blanked by All-Star Alan Strong and the Bowling Green Hot Rods (8-2, 47-33), 3-0, on Sunday afternoon at Cooley Law School Stadium.

Wymer (Loss, 3-7) set down the first ten batters of the game and dueled scorelessly with Strong until the fifth, but Nate Soria’s safety squeeze and Ford Proctor’s RBI double broke the ice, giving the Hot Rods a 2-0 lead.

An inning later, Osmy Gregorio added insurance with an RBI single, an unearned run, that ended Wymer’s day an out shy of six innings. Soria threatened to add to the lead with a drive to deep left off new reliever Justin Watts, but left fielder DJ Neal raced back and made an outstanding catch, hanging on to the ball despite crashing into the wall.

Watts finished 1 1/3 perfect innings out of the pen, before Joey Pulido faced the minimum in the eighth and ninth innings, keeping Lansing in the game – but the offense was unable to solve Strong and reliever Cristofer Ogando.

Strong (Win, 5-4) twirled seven innings, striking out six while limiting the Lugnuts to four singles, one hit-by-pitch and one walk. He was threatened only in the third inning, when the Nuts loaded the bases with one out, only to see Strong strike out Griffin Conine and dispatched Jake Brodt on a foul-out to first.

Ogando (Save, 3) recorded the final six outs, walking Brodt and allowing a single to Ryan Gold in the bottom of the ninth inning before striking out Neal to end the game.

In the loss, Lopez went 1-for-4 with a single, bringing him within three games of Beloit’s Ryan Gridley’s 33-game on-base streak for the longest on-base streak of the Midwest League season.

The Lugnuts close out their seven-game homestand with a Dollar Monday featuring $1 prices for hot dogs, ice cream sandwiches, popcorn, Miller High Life and fountain drinks. Right-hander Troy Watson (4.91 ERA) gets the start at 7:05 p.m. against Bowling Green right-hander Easton McGee (3.88). 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.