In a game with two separate power outage delays, the West Michigan Whitecaps rallied to beat the Lansing Lugnuts 4-3 in front of 7,401 fans Wednesday at Fifth Third Ballpark.
West Michigan, who hadn’t won a one-run game since May 21, exploded for a three-run eighth inning that spanned 82 minutes including 43 minutes in power outage stoppage time. The outages were believed to be related to a lightning strike that hit one of the stadium light towers last weekend.
The Lugnuts struck first in the second inning on a Hagen Danner sacrifice fly to forge ahead 1-0. The Whitecaps responded with a run on Cooper Johnson’s sacrifice fly to even the tally at 1-1. With one out in the eighth, a pair of light towers went dark at the ballpark sending the game into a delay. Nearly 20 minutes later, the lights returned, and the game resumed. Moments later, Lansing added a pair of runs to regain a 3-1 highlighted by a run-scoring double from Rafael Lantigua to give the Lugnuts the lead. The Whitecaps tied the game in the bottom half featuring a Parker Meadows RBI-double before catcher’s interference gave the ‘Caps the go-ahead run and a 4-3 lead. With two outs in the inning, outfielder Daniel Reyes had his at-bat cut short due to another brief power outage. With both teams agreeing to finish the contest despite one of the towers blacked out, Zack Hess finished the ninth to deliver West Michigan its fourth win in seven games.
Wilkel Hernandez tossed six innings, allowing one run on eight hits and four strikeouts. Juan De Paula pitched 5.2 innings surrendering one run on four hits and two strikeouts in his start for Lansing. Sandel De La Cruz (2-3) hurled two frames in relief allowing two runs on three hits while striking out five in his second 2019 victory. Sean Rackoski (2-2) gave up three runs in relief and took the loss for Lansing. Hess shut the door in the ninth setting the Lugnuts down to earn his third save as a Whitecap. West Michigan improves to (34-66) on the year and (12-18) in the second half, while Lansing falls to (47-52) on the campaign and an even (15-15) in second-half play. Andre Lipcius, the Tigers 3rd-round draft pick out of Tennessee this year, has hit safely in 13 of his last 14 games. Since the Whitecaps got swept in a four-game series to start the second half at Lake County, the Whitecaps have gone 13-14 in their previous 27 games.
The Whitecaps continue this three-game series against the Lansing Lugnuts on Thursday at 7:05 pm. Pitcher Robbie Welhaf starts on the mound for West Michigan against Lugnuts righty Fitz Stadler. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Mike Coleman begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:55 pm. Tickets are available for any Whitecaps 2019 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.