The Lansing Lugnuts lost their first playoff game of 2015 after the West Michigan Whitecaps got to starting pitcher Starlyn Suriel on their way to an 8-3 victory. Suriel only lasted 3 2/3 innings, allowing four runs on six hits and three walks. The Lugnuts got behind early and, while they managed to get 11 hits as a club, couldn’t parlay those hits into enough runs.
Suriel was in trouble early; after getting the first two batters of the game to fly out, he gave up a triple and a single to let the West Michigan Whitecaps take a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. The Lugnuts matched that run with an RBI single from Ryan McBroom who drove in Richard Urena.
The Lugnuts’ bats were quiet until the ninth inning as the Whitecaps kept scoring in ones and twos, eventually building an 8-1 lead, chipping away at Suriel and then relievers Conor Fisk (3 1/3 IP, 2 H, 2 R, 2 BB, 3 K, 1 HR) and Mark Biggs (1 IP, 1 H, 2 R, 0 ER, 1 BB, 1 K). Phil Kish threw a scoreless ninth before the Lugnuts got back on the scoreboard in the bottom of the ninth.
In the ninth, it was the bench that really got the Lugnuts going. Michael De La Cruz led off the ninth with a walk, pinch hitting for Danny Jansen and another pinch hitter, Alex Maldonado, singled. Austin Davis replaced Chris Carlson and popped out but Jason Leblebijian drove in a pair of runs with a single before Ryan McBroom ended the game with a pop out to the shortstop.
Despite the 11 hits for the offense, the club could only score three runs. Jason Leblebijian was 3/5 with two RBI and Ryan McBroom finished the night 3/5 with a double and an RBI.
The Lugnuts take on the Whitecaps Monday night in the tie breaker, game three of three of the Midwest League Semifinal series with Shane Dawson on the mound against 25-year-old Ross Seaton. Dawson won the Lugnuts’ first game of the playoffs on his 22nd birthday last week while Seaton appears to be making his first appearance in the postseason for the Whitecaps.
Player of the Game: Ryan McBroom and Jason Leblebijian
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