PEORIA, Ill. – Ryan Gold lined a two-run single in the first inning and Sean Wymer brought a shutout into the seventh, leading the Lansing Lugnuts (11-9, 43-46) past the Peoria Chiefs (3-17, 33-56), 3-2, on Thursday night at Dozer Park.
The Chiefs lost their eleventh consecutive game, while the Lugnuts improved to 4-1 on their nine-game, ten-day road trip. The Nuts have allowed two runs or fewer in all five games of the road trip.
A day after Troy Miller allowed one run in seven innings in a series-opening win, it was Wymer’s (Win, 5-7) turn to impress. The right-hander from TCU equaled Miller in setting down the first nine Chiefs batters and then pitched around threats in the fourth inning and the sixth inning.
Peoria starter Kyle Leahy (Loss, 4-7) was brilliant in his own right, allowing Gold’s two-run single in the first inning to give the Lugnuts an early 2-0 lead, but then tamping down to face the minimum over the remainder of his seven innings, striking out 10.
Brendan Donovan’s one-out solo home run in the bottom of the seventh broke up the shutout, bringing the Chiefs within 2-1. Alexis Wilson and Brandon Riley followed with consecutive singles, ending Wymer’s night at 6 1/3 innings.
Marcus Reyes entered from the bullpen and retired Josh Shaw on an infield-fly-rule pop to short. Brandon Benson then lined a single to left, with Wilson attempting to score the game-tying run from second – but left fielder Hunter Steinmetz threw him out at the plate with a superb tag from catcher Gold to end the inning and thwart the Chiefs.
The Lugnuts added a significant insurance run in the eighth inning against reliever Freddy Pacheco. With one out, Hagen Danner reached second on a two-base throwing error by shortstop Delvin Perez. Danner moved to third on a groundout and then scored when Peoria catcher Wilson was unable to contain a wild pitch on a swinging-strike-three from Otto Lopez, allowing Lopez to reach while Danner raced across the plate.
Sean Rackoski recorded the final four outs for his fifth save, but it did not come without more drama. Donovan led off the bottom of the ninth with a walk and Wilson doubled to left to put the potential game-tying runs in scoring position with none out. Rackoski struck out Brandon Riley and induced a groundout from Josh Shaw, bringing in Donovan to again shave the Lugnuts’ lead to one run. With the tying run now 90 feet away, Rackoski whiffed Brandon Benson to end the game.
Gold finished the game 2-for-3 with two singles and a walk. Lansing right fielder Griffin Conine went 0-for-4 on his 22nd birthday, ending an 11-game hitting streak.
The Lugnuts look to complete the three-game sweep on Friday at 7:35 p.m. Eastern / 6:35 p.m. local time, sending right-hander Troy Watson (4.81 ERA) against Chiefs left-hander Colin Schmid (4.83).
The Nuts’ next homestand runs from July 17-22 against the Burlington Bees and Clinton LumberKings. 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.