LANSING- Trei Cruz’s three-run homer highlighted a seven-run sixth inning as the West Michigan Whitecaps hung on to defeat the Lansing Lugnuts 11-9 against the Lansing Lugnuts in front of 7,776 fans Friday in Jackson Field.
Cruz, who provided an RBI brace as part of Thursday’s 5-1 win, had a 3-for-4 performance on Friday, hitting base four times and delivering his eighth home run as the difference in the contest. The 24-year-old is averaging .353 (6 for 17) in his first four games in August.
A back-and-forth affair saw West Michigan score twice on a Corey Joyce brace, followed by an RBI single from Bryant Packard to take a 2-0 lead, but the Lugnuts responded quickly.
A solo homer from Max Muncy highlighted a Lansing first four run, chasing new Midwest League pitcher of the month Brant Hurter after just two-thirds of an inning.
Trailing 5-3, the Whitecaps sent ten batters home to score seven times and regain the lead. Josh Crouch had a two-run single before Cruz exploded his three-run shot.
In the seventh, Izaac Pacheco, playing his first game for the Whitecaps, homered the opposite field for his first High-A hit, extending the lead to 11-5.
The Lugnuts responded with four runs in the seventh but didn’t come close as the ‘Caps bullpen threw two scoreless final frames to seal the win.
Whitecaps reliever Gio Arriera (8-1) pitched two innings out of the bullpen, giving up a run and earning his team-best eighth win of the season, while pitcher Jake Walkinshaw (2- 1) took the loss giving up seven runs in four innings.
The Whitecaps currently hold a four-game lead over the Great Lakes Loons for first place in the Midwest League East second half standings. The Whitecaps improved to 55-45 and 24-10 in the second half.
The Lugnuts fall to 38-62 and 13-21. Detroit Tigers 2022 first-round pick Jace Jung, who is making his professional baseball debut, threw a single in the eighth inning to collect his first hit as a pro.
The Whitecaps will play Game 5 of the six-game series against the Lansing Lugnuts at Jackson Field on Saturday at 7:05 p.m. Left-hander Jack O’Loughlin gets the start for West Michigan against right-hander Kyle Virbitsky for the Lugnuts.
Broadcast coverage begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:50 p.m.