APPLETON, Wisc. – Kyle Virbitsky struck out 11 batters in six innings, Shane McGuire scored on a wild pitch to break a seventh-inning tie, and the Lansing Lugnuts (25-28, 50-69) clinched a series win with a 3-2 victory over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (24-29, 60-58) on Saturday night at Neuroscience
APPLETON, Wisc. – Kyle Virbitsky struck out 11 batters in six innings, Shane McGuire scored on a wild pitch to break a seventh-inning tie, and the Lansing Lugnuts (25-28, 50-69) clinched a series win with a 3-2 victory over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers (24-29, 60-58) on Saturday night at Neuroscience Group Field at Fox Cities Stadium.
The Lugnuts have four wins in the first five games of the six-game series, clinching their second consecutive road series victory. The Nuts have won nine of their last ten games away from Lansing, seven of them by two runs or fewer.
The 6-foot-6 Virbitsky towered over the night, increasing his organization-leading strikeout total to 130 with a career best performance. The former Penn State standout whiffed one batter in the first inning, two in the second, two in the third, one in the fourth, three in the fifth and two in the sixth, all the while allowing only four hits, one walk and two fourth-inning runs. He finished the night on 96 pitches, 65 for strikes.
The Nuts also scored their first two runs in the fourth inning, coming courtesy of one swing: Cooper Bowman’s second home run in the Midwest League.
With the game tied 2-2 entering the seventh, McGuire led off against new reliever Justin King with a bunt single. Alexander Campos followed with a single, sending McGuire dashing to third. With Lazaro Armenteros at the plate, a King pitch escaped catcher Darrien Miller, bringing in McGuire with the decisive run.
Angello Infante pitched 1 1/3 hitless innings in relief of Virbitsky, walking two and striking out one, before Calvin Coker handled the final five outs in perfect order, striking out two.
The game included an emotional top of the ninth inning. Lugnuts left fielder Armenteros was hit by a pitch by Wisconsin reliever Karlos Morales and exchanged words with the pitcher on his way to first base, leading to Armenteros heaving his helmet at Morales. The benches cleared, concluding with the removal from the game of both Armenteros and Wisconsin catcher Miller.
Touted 2021 Athletics third-rounder Mason Miller, who has a fastball recorded at 102 miles-per-hour, will make his Lugnuts debut in Sunday’s series finale at 2:10 p.m. Eastern, 1:10 p.m. local time. After the game, the Nuts will enjoy a day off Monday before continuing their 12-game, 13-day road trip to South Bend.
At the conclusion of the road trip, the Lugnuts return home September 6-11 to close out the season against Dayton. For more information and to purchase tickets, visit lansinglugnuts.com or call (517) 485-4500.
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