LANSING, Mich (WLMI) – The Lansing Lugnuts (23-10) piled up 18 hits, four by second baseman Jon Berti, on their way to a 13-5 romp over the Bowling Green Hot Rods (17-17) on Thursday night on Jackson Field.
The Lugnuts set season highs in margin of victory, hits, runs scored and runs scored in an inning, blowing the game open with a six-run third.
Chris Hawkins delivered two of his three hits in the third inning, finishing off the rally with a two-run single to center to send Bowling Green starter Ryan Carpenter (Loss, 4-2) to the showers.
Before his departure, Carpenter gave up 14 hits and nine runs in just 2 2/3 innings.
Each member of Lansing’s starting nine collected a base hit and scored a run by the fourth inning.
Berti led the Lugnuts’ hit parade, collecting singles in the first, second, third innings before adding a seventh inning double.
Third baseman Andy Burns added a 3-for-5, 3-RBI performance, clocking his team-leading fifth home run of the season.
The rout overshadowed the first blemishes on touted prospects Justin Nicolino and Aaron Sanchez’s stat lines, as each Lugnut pitching phenom gave up his first earned runs of the year.
The Hot Rods reached Nicolino for three runs on six hits in four innings, including a mammoth Josh Sale home run to right. The left-hander struck out four batters in watching his ERA increase to 1.17.
Sanchez (Win, 4-0) similarly struck out four batters in four innings, allowing only a two-out, two-run Tyler Goeddel double in the sixth. His ERA rose to 0.78.
Ajay Meyer pitched a perfect ninth inning to finish off the Lugs’ easiest victory of the year to date.
The Lugnuts send right-hander Jesse Hernandez (3-1, 1.67) to the mound at 7:05 p.m. on Friday night, looking for the three-game sweep. Bowling Green counters with right-hander Roberto Gomez (1-1, 4.55).