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Lugnuts 5, Whitecaps 4: Lansing offense overpowers West Michigan in Division Finals opener

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The Lansing Lugnuts used key hits against Jeff Thompson to take command of Game 1 of the Midwest League Eastern Division Finals.

Emily Waldon / Bless You Boys

As West Michigan prepared to play host to the Lansing Lugnuts in game one of the Midwest League Eastern Division Finals, manager Andrew Graham handed the ball to 6'6" righthander Jeff Thompson (0-1, 8.44 ERA) to toe the slab for West Michigan. Following a two-game sweep of Fort Wayne in the Division Quarterfinals, West Michigan welcomed a hot Lansing squad who finished the regular season in third overall at 73-66, clinching a first-half division title. Finishing the regular season with a final record of 7-11 with a 3.79 ERA, Thompson battled through 5 1/3 innings for West Michigan against a persistent Lansing offense, tagging Thompson for five earned runs off six hits throughout his outing.

Following a drought at the plate for Michael Gerber, the right fielder landed West Michigan on the board in the first, courtesy of a solo shot to notch his first hit in his last five outings. After the home run from Gerber, West Michigan was held silent against the Lugnuts until the seventh inning.

After a walk issued to Will Kengor, Francisco Contreras doubled Kengor to third and a sacrifice drive from David Gonzalez crossed Kengor in for the score. In his usual way, Ross Kivett came through with a key RBI single to score Contreras and West Michigan moved to within two runs of Lansing. Trailing into the bottom of nine, Francisco Contreras again came through, punching a long solo shot over the left field wall, but it was all West Michigan could muster, falling short in the series opener.

HITS: After a stretch of 0-16, Michael Gerber came through in the first with a solo blast to break the drought at the plate for the 23-year-old.

MISSES: Following a key hit in the final game against Fort Wayne, Kade Scivicque couldn't seem to find his groove on Saturday, going 0-4 at the plate.

★★★

Upcoming Action

Midwest League Playoffs - Division Finals (Game 2): The Whitecaps will travel to Lansing on Sunday for Game Two of the Midwest League Eastern Division Finals. Game time is scheduled for 7:05 pm (EST) with Artie Lewicki slated to take the hill for West Michigan.