Lugnuts fall in Crosstown Showdown 2-1

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By Jack Dalton
Lansing Star staff writer

The Lansing Lugnuts dropped a 2-1 decision to the Michigan State Spartans in the fifth annual Crosstown Showdown exhibition Tuesday night at Cooley Law School Stadium.

The Lugnuts fell behind early after Michigan State senior center fielder and leadoff hitter Brandon Eckerle scored in the first inning off a wild pitch by Lugnut starting pitcher Drew Hutchinson.

The Spartans widened their lead in the fourth, as freshman catcher Joel Fisher hit a two-out RBI single down the third base line scoring sophomore outfielder Jordan Keur from second base, making the game 2-0.

The Lugnuts created a jam for Michigan State in the third putting runners on first and second with one out. Lansing third baseman Bryson Namba hit a line drive to shallow center field but was robbed by Eckerle who made a diving catch and threw the ball to second to get Lugnuts center fielder Markus Brisker out for the double play.

Lansing threatened again the next inning putting runners at the corners before shortstop Garis Pena hit a pop fly to end the inning.

It wasn’t until the bottom on the ninth inning when Brisker cut the Lugnuts deficit in half, scoring on catcher Jack Murphy’s RBI groundout. Brisker reached third after a wild pitch by freshman pitcher Jeff Kinley. Designated hitter Joe Bowen grounded out to Kinley to end the threat and the game.

The Lugnuts stranded 11 runners on base, and Hutchinson got the loss after giving up three hits, two runs (one earned), four strikeouts and four walks in four innings of work.

Michigan State senior Stephen Doty, who started the game for the Spartans, got the win in two scoreless innings. He surrendered two hits and one walk, and struck out one looking. Kinley was credited with the save.

The Lugnuts open their regular season tomorrow at 7:05 p.m. at Cooley Law School Stadium against the West Michigan Whitecaps.

Attendance was announced at 7,212…The two teams played a total of 41 players. Lansing used five pitchers, while MSU used eight…Each team committed two errors…Between the 3rd and 4th innings, Big Lug, Lansing’s mascot, got into it with Sparty, MSU’s mascot on top of the third base dugout.

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