(COURTESY OF LOONS.COM)
Great Lakes Loons (57-62, 30-19) cleanup hitter Tyler Ogle hit a double off the center field wall in the bottom of the ninth inning to drive in Jeremy Rathjen for the game-winning run and the Loons knocked off the Lansing Lugnuts (51-68, 19-31) by a score of 3-2 on Sunday afternoon at Dow Diamond. The win was Great Lakes' second consecutive one-run walk-off win, after James Baldwin's bases-loaded bunt single gave the Loons a 2-1 victory against Lansing on Saturday night.
"We have some pretty good leadership in that locker-room and they know how important every game is," Loons manager Razor Shines said. "We try to win every night and go out with the approach that we're going to win these ballgames. I'm glad to see us come through adversity because earlier this season, these types of games got away from us. That's attributed to the kids in the locker-room and to our coaching staff, specifically Bill (Simas) and Mike (Eylward). I'm excited for our team and it's a good thing."
The Loons and Lugnuts were tied at 2-2 for most of the afternoon, after both teams scored two runs in the second inning. In the top of the ninth, Great Lakes reliever Rob Rogers (1-0) set Lansing down in order. Loons three-hitter Aaron Miller led off the home half of the ninth with a double to left-center field and Ogle, who was 2-for-4 in the game, followed with his 22nd double of the season to win the game for Great Lakes.
"There's no better feeling," Ogle said. "That's what you play the game for and that's what I'll save forever. That's what's so awesome about this game."
Lansing scored the first runs of the game when six-hitter Santiago Nessy put the Lugnuts on the board in the road half of the second inning with a 395-foot two-run home run to left field.
Loons eight-hitter Jose Capellan tied the game at 2-2 in the bottom of the second a with two-run single to left field, scoring James Baldwin and Brandon Dixon.
Julio Urias, the Dodgers No. 4 prospect, started for Great Lakes and went two innings, giving up two runs on two hits, while striking out four and issuing no walks.
The Lugnuts started Kendall Graveman, who threw four innings and gave up two runs (one earned) on two hits. Graveman struck out three and walked two.
Kramer Champlin (6-3) pitched four-plus innings of relief for Lansing, giving up one run on two hits, while striking out three.
Great Lakes' bullpen did not surrender a run for the second consecutive game. Geoff Brown pitched three innings and gave up two hits, while striking out three and walking one. Rogers pitched the last two innings, retiring all six Lugnuts hitters that he faced to pick up his first win of the season.
Ralston Cash pitched the sixth and seventh innings for Great Lakes, facing only six hitters. Cash did not surrender a hit, while striking out three and walking one in his first appearance in a Loons uniform since going on the disabled list in late May.
"It's good to be back," Cash said. "When I left, there weren't good vibes with the record that we had, but it's great to see a team with the brotherhood that we have right now. It's fun to have a reason to go pitch and have a reason to sacrifice yourself."
Great Lakes' win keeps them a half-game back of the South Bend Silver Hawks (75-44, 31-19) in the Midwest League Eastern Division second-half standings. South Bend also picked up a win on Sunday. The Bowling Green Hot Rods (67-51, 29-21) lost on Sunday and fell two games back of South Bend and 1.5 games back of Great Lakes. South Bend was the first-half Eastern Division champion and has already qualified for the MWL playoffs. Great Lakes would qualify as the second-half champion if the season ended after Sunday's games.
The Loons and Lugnuts wrap up a three-game series on Monday night at Dow Diamond. Game time is 7:05 p.m.