MIDLAND, Mich. – Winning the close games is pivotal for any team when they are trying to start a winning streak, continue one, or break a slump. After splitting their first series of the 2nd half against the Lake County Captains, it was a come-from-behind 6-5 walk-off victory for the Great Lakes Loons on Monday at Dow Diamond against the Lansing Lugnuts. The only other walk-off win this season was against the Quad Cities River Bandits back on May 3.
After two home runs in the top of the 8th inning, one which travelled 447 feet off the bat of Connor Panas, the Lugnuts lead reached three runs at 5-2. But the first three batters in the bottom half for Great Lakes (3-2, 32-43) reached to load the bases with nobody out. Back-to-back sacrifice flies from Jake Henson and Logan Landon pulled the Loons within a run, but that would be all they would get in the frame.
After an easy top of the 9th inning was turned in by reliever Wes Helsabeck (W, 3-0), it was Midwest League saves leader Dusty Isaacs (BS, 6; L, 1-4) who was called upon by Lansing to slam the door and preserve the victory.
Cristian Gomez started the inning by getting hit by a pitch, but the hopes looked to be dwindling when a sacrifice bunt attempt turned into a pop out. Into the box stepped fresh face Darien Tubbs. Just six hours after arriving in Midland, the 2016 Los Angeles Dodgers draft pick, roped his second hit of the night into the left-field corner and forced Gomez around the bases to the tie the game.
With things looking much more promising at 5-5 with a runner on third base and one out, the Lugnuts pulled the infield in and a ground ball off the bat of Noah Perio, another new addition to the roster on Monday, saw Tubbs get himself into a pickle between third base and home plate, eventually being tagged out.
Following an intentional walk of Loons slugger Ariel Sandoval, pinch-runner-turned-catcher Gage Green beat out a full count infield single. With both baserunners on the move, Perio did not stop running around third base and scored without a throw to snatch the victory.
Copyright Meredith Corp. 2016