The only thing colder than the temperatures in Midland, MI today were the Great Lakes Loons' bats as the defending Midwest League champs were swept by the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays) 6-3 in the first game and 2-0 in the second game of a double-header to start the 2017 MWL season at Dow Diamond tonight.
The Loons only managed 8-total hits in both games, which was scheduled as a double-header after yesterday's home opener was postponed due to inclement weather, forcing two 7-inning games beginning at 4 pm at Dow Diamond this afternoon.
In the first game, Lansing center fielder J.B. Woodman scored from first base when shortstop Bo Bichette (son of former major league player Dante Bichette) singled off Loons starter Leo Crawford to take a 1-0 lead in the first inning.
Lansing would make it 2-0 in the top of the third inning when another famous son, Vladimir Guerrero Jr. (who is the son of former major league player Vladimir Guerrero) tagged up and scored on a Bradley Jones sac fly foul ball in right field territory.
The Loons answered with three runs in the bottom half of the third inning after Zach McKinstry and Saige Jenco hit back to back one-out singles, followed by a walk to Brendon Davis to load the bases.
Great Lakes' left-batting third baseman Oneil Cruz then hit a hard grounder to second, which Jones misplayed, allowing McKinstry and Jenco to score and move Davis to third base before he eventually scored on a wild pitch to give the Loons a 3-2 lead after three innings.
The Lugnuts jumped on top 4-3 in the top of the fifth on a 2-run home run by Guerrero Jr. (1) over the right field wall at Dow Diamond.
Lansing added two more runs in the top of the seventh inning, which included another home run, this time from Bichette (1) who led off the inning with a solo shot, which was followed by first baseman Christian Williams scoring from third after left fielder Nick Sinay was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded.
Crawford (0-0, 2.70 ERA) gave up 2-runs (1-earned) on 4-hits, and 2-walks, while striking out 3-batters through 3.1 innings.
Reliever Tony Gonsolin (0-1, 6.75 ERA) was charged with the loss after giving up 2-runs on 3-hits, with no walks, while striking out 5 Lansing batters through 2.2 innings of relief.
Nolan Long gave up 2-runs on 3-hits and 1-walk, while striking out one batter in the final inning of the first game today.
Lansing jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the second inning of the second game, which would turn out to be the only two runs scored in the second half of the double-header.
Guerrero Jr. walked to lead off the second and moved to third on a single by Williams then scored when Jones hit into a fielders choice that forced Williams out at second base.
Jones then scored when a throw by Loons catcher Stevie Berman deflected somehow off the webbing of Cruz' glove on a pick-off attempt.
Great Lakes' second game starter Lenix Osuna (0-1, 13.50 ERA) gave up both runs on 1-hit and 3-walks, while striking out 2-batters through 1.1 innings and was charged with the game two loss.
Wuppertal, Germany native Sven Schuller allowed zero runs on two walks, while striking out 2-batters in 2.1 innings of relief for the Loons in the second game.
Loons reliever Parker Curry shut down the Lugnuts, striking out six batters in 3.1 perfect innings to close out the second game tonight.
Davis paced the Loons offense in both games today going a combined 2 for 4 (1 for 2 with 2-walks, 1-double, and a run scored in game-one) followed by McKinstry, who was a combined 2 for 5 in both games (1 for 2 with a walk and 1-run scored in game-one) today.
Loons first baseman Gersel Pitre was a combined 1 for 4 in both games today (0 for 1 with two walks in game-one and 1 for 3 in game two) and former Oklahoma quarterback Cody Thomas finished by going a combined 1 for 5 (1 for 3 in the second game) today.
Jenco went 1 for 3 with a walk and 1-run scored in the first game today, however, he did not play in the second game.
The Loons will look to even the series with Lansing when it travels to Cooley Law School Stadium to finish out the home and home series with the Lugnuts tomorrow and Sunday.