Fort Wayne, Indiana
For the 2nd time this week, the TinCaps staged a late-inning rally to come from behind and defeat the Dayton Dragons. With a big 8th inning, the TinCaps swept the four-game series with a 5-4 victory.
Facing Dragons’ starter John De Jesus and reliever Ryan Campbell, the TinCaps struggled early, managing only two base hits through six innings.
With Campbell still on the mound in the 7th, the TinCaps plated their 1st run of the game before taking the lead in the next frame. Trailing 4-1 with one out in the 8th, Jawaun Harris tripled on a drive to left-center that went to the wall. Following a Xavier Edwards ground out and Tucapita Marcano walk, center fielder Grant Little singled to center field to score Harris. A walk to Augustin Ruiz loaded the bases, and all runners advanced on a subsequent wild pitch, bringing the TinCaps within one.
Luis Almanzar, who cranked an 8th inning grand slam on Tuesday, came through again, hitting a ground ball that deflected off the glove of the third baseman and past the shortstop, scoring two and giving the TinCaps a 5-4 lead.
The 9th inning was not without drama, however, as the Dragons loaded the bases against reliever Henry Henry. Pinch hitter Jonathan Willems led off with a strikeout, but a third-strike wild pitch allowed him to reach first base. Pabel Manzanero singled, and Bren Spillane moved the runners to second and third with a sacrifice bunt. After an intentional walk to load the bases, TinCaps first baseman Lee Solomon snagged a fast-moving ground ball from Juan Martinez, firing it to the Juan Fernandez for the force at home. With the bases still loaded, pinch hitter Jay Schuyler poked a weak fly ball to right field for the final out. Henry’s save was his first of the season.
TinCaps starter Efrain Contreras pitched five innings, giving up one run on four hits; Contreras walked two but had eight strikeouts. Dan Dallas pitched two innings of relief with two Ks and two hits; one run scored with Dallas pitching the 6th, but defensive issues—an error and missed double-play opportunity—kept the inning going longer than it should have. Tom Colletti pitched the 8th, giving up four consecutive hits that resulted in two runs for the Dragons.
Friday, the TinCaps begin their first extended road trip of the season, with three games against the Hot Rods in Bowling Green, Kentucky followed by a three-game set in Dayton.
Announced attendance was 3,343.
The TinCaps are off to their best start since 2011, when they were also 6-2.
Harris was the only batter with multiple hits, going 2-for-3 with a single and a triple, the latter being the first of the season for the team.
Dragons starter De Jesus struck out seven of the 17 batters he faced.
Dragons reliever Campbell recorded four strikeouts in the seventh inning, as the second one had a wild pitch 3rd strike, allowing Ruiz to reach first.
Ken A. Bugajski lives and works in Fort Wayne, Indiana. An English professor by trade, he spends many summer nights with his wife and daughter at Parkview Field, home of the TinCaps.