LANSING, Mich. – Mason Miller struck out seven batters in three hitless innings, Lawrence Butler went 4-for-4 with two home runs, and the Lansing Lugnuts (29-36, 54-77) treated a crowd of 5,637 on Fan Appreciation Night to a 9-5 victory over the Dayton Dragons (28-34, 67-61) on Saturday night at Jackson® Field™.
One game remains in the 2022 season: a 1:05 p.m. matinee on Sunday.
The early story was 2021 third-rounder Miller, the 6-foot-5 right-hander with the 102 mph fastball. The Nuts’ starting pitcher struck out Tyler Callihan and Rece Hinds in a perfect first inning, issued a leadoff walk before fanning Jose Torres and Michel Triana in a scoreless second, and then whiffed Steven Leyton, Michael Trautwein and Jay Allen II in order in the third.
Butler took over from there. After a single in a two-run first inning and a walk in the second, the first baseman drilled a 410-foot two-run homer in a three-run fourth to give the Nuts a 5-0 lead.
Dayton plated its first two runs in the top of the sixth off Jack Owen, but Butler responded with a rocket of an RBI double in a three-run home half.
Needing a triple for the cycle in the eighth inning, the Atlanta native instead turned on a Dennis Boatman pitch and slugged his second homer of the game out to right field.
Butler finished the game 4-for-4 with four runs scored, four runs batted in, a walk, a double and his 10th and 11th home runs of the season. In the process, he raised his batting average from .260 to .270 and his OPS from .784 to .825.
Sahid Valenzuela, entering the game after leadoff hitter Cooper Bowman was hit by a pitch in the first inning, scored three runs and delivered an RBI single to supplement the offense, with Euribiel Ángeles and Brayan Buelvas each added two-hit games.
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