Lugnuts Drop Second Round Opener

Lugnuts Drop Second Round Opener

LANSING- If you want to win a championship, you can't afford to make mistakes and you have to capitalize on the mistakes that the other team makes. That is something that Lansing was not able to do on Saturday night as they dropped the opening game of the second round against the West Michigan Whitecaps by a score of 9-3.

The loss puts the Lugnuts on the brink of elimination as they now must find a way to win two games on the road against West Michigan, a team that beat them in ten of fifteen head to head match ups during the regular season.

"We started off slow and really couldn't make the adjustment," said Lansing first baseman David Hicks.

West Michigan capitalized early on a Lansing error. In the second inning, West Michigan second baseman William Rhymes hit a routine fly ball to Lansing's Jacob Butler, however, the left fielder dropped the ball. Rhymes would then steal second base and score on a Pedro Cotto single. Cotto then scored on a two-out home run hit by Whitecaps catcher Joel Roa. All three runs scored in the inning off of Lansing starter Casey McKenzie were unearned.

West Michigan increased its lead in the sixth inning to 5-0 as Mark Hollimon led off the top of the frame with a home run to deep right field. Tigers top prospect Cameron Maybin then doubled of the left field wall and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Rhymes.

Lansing starter Casey McKenzie tossed 5 2/3 innings, allowing five runs, although, only two of them were earned. He allowed seven hits over his outing while walking one and striking out two.

"He battled and that is all we can ask from him," stated catcher Brian Bomaster. "You aren't going to have your best stuff every day, but he battled for us and gave us a chance."

Brian Pettway and David Hicks tried to jump start the Lugnuts offense as each collected a one-out single in the bottom of the sixth. Pettway scored when Bormaster hit a pop up to second baseman William Rhymes which he dropped, taking away the goose egg on the board and making the score 5-1.

West Michigan put the game out of reach by scoring two two runs in each of the seventh and eighth innings.

The loss puts the Lugnuts in a must win situation on Sunday afternoon if they hope to advance. Sean Stidfole will take the mound for Lansing. If the Lugnuts are victorious on Sunday afternoon, Chi-Hung Cheng would throw the deciding game on Monday night.

"You can't think about two games, you just have to take the approach that you have to win (Sunday's) game first," stated Hicks. "If you win tomorrow, then anything can happen in game three. We just need to come out with everything that we have."

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