LANSING, MI – A pair of extra-inning pitch clock violations led to a game-winning bases-loaded walk to send the West Michigan Whitecaps to their fourth straight loss by a score of 6-5 in ten innings to the Lansing Lugnuts Friday night at Jackson Field.
After West Michigan stranded the bases loaded in the tenth inning, the Lugnuts advanced a runner to third base with none out.
After a strikeout of Austin Beck and an intentional walk to Tyler Soderstrom to load the bases, reliever Michael Bienlien struck out Brett Harris for the second out.
With Lugnuts outfielder Lawrence Butler at the plate, Bienlien was called for pitch clock violations around his first two pitches – both of which were strikes.
With a 2-2 count, Bienlien’s next two pitches missed the zone, and Butler drew and game-winning walk to give Lansing its fourth straight win of the series.
The scoring occurred early and often on Friday night, as Chris Meyers stroked a run-scoring single in the opening frame to give West Michigan a 1-0 lead.
In the bottom of the frame, the Lugnuts immediately erased the ‘Caps lead for the third time in the series on a three-run homer by Butler to give Lansing a 3-1 advantage.
Colt Keith’s RBI-single cut the ‘Caps deficit in half in the second, but Lansing answered with another run.
The Whitecaps scored on a Lansing error to bring the score to 4-3 in the sixth, but the Lugnuts scored another run on Matt Cross’ RBI-double to extend the lead to 5-3.
In the eighth, Keith blasted his second home run of the season; a solo shot to bring the Lansing lead to 5-4, and in the ninth, a Trei Cruz game-tying RBI-single knotted the contest at five before the unexpected ending in the tenth.
Trayson Kubo (3-0) kept the ‘Caps scoreless in the tenth inning to earn his third victory.
Michael Bienlien (1-2) threw two pitches out of the strike zone to issue the game-ending walk and take his second loss of the year.
The Whitecaps fall to 8-17, while the Lugnuts improve to 11-14. Shortstop Corey Joyce reached base four times in a losing cause. In the defeat, the Whitecaps left 17 runners on the basepaths and have lost 15 of their last 17 games. The loss makes West Michigan 1-10 in games decided by two runs or less this season.
This six-game series between the West Michigan Whitecaps nears its end with a Saturday night contest from Jackson Field at 7:05 pm.
Pitcher Wilmer Flores gets the start for West Michigan against the Lugnuts Jeff Criswell.
Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty starts on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:50 pm. Get your tickets for all 2022 home games now at www.whitecapsbaseball.com.