TinCaps’ Bats Spark Late Comeback and Walk-off Win

Luis Campusano drives a single--his first of three--in the bottom of the first. Mason Thompson pitches to Chris Singleton in the top of the first. Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes

Mason Thompson pitches to Chris Singleton in the top of the first. Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes

Fort Wayne, Indiana

The TinCaps won in dramatic fashion Friday night, with a four-run seventh inning comeback and a textbook walk-off in the tenth to defeat the South Bend Cubs 5-4.

As per Midwest League rules, the TinCaps started the extra inning with a runner, Jalen Washington, on second base. The first hitter of the inning, Robbie Podorsky, laid down a perfect sacrifice bunt to move

Washington to third. The Cubs granted an intentional walk to leadoff man Jeisson Rosario to create the possibility of a double play and bring Gabriel Arias to the plate. Arias smacked the first pitch into center field to bring in Washington and end the game. (https://www.facebook.com/tincaps/videos/10160273069730386/).

To get to the victory, the TinCaps dodged a bullet in the Cubs’ half of the tenth. With runners at first and third, Campusano was called for catcher interference, loading the bases with only one out. Reliever Jared Carkuff responded, striking out the next batter and then forcing a fly out to end the threat.

Such an ending—and even extra innings—seemed unlikely a few innings before, as the TinCaps trailed the Cubs 3-0 heading into the bottom of the seventh. Facing relief pitcher Enrique De Los Rios in his first inning of work, the TinCaps mounted a rally to take the lead. Luis Campusano, who went 3-for-4 on the night, hit his third single, which was followed by a walk to clean-up hitter Luiz Almanzar. Justin Lopez then put down a slow-rolling bunt that hugged the baseline and stopped, fair, three-quarters of the way to third to load the bases. After a fly out to short left by Carlos Belen, Jack Suwinski singled to right field to score two, with Almanzar and Suwinski advancing to third and second on the throw home. Following a strikeout, Podorsky sent a chopper to third. A hurried throw pulled first baseman Jared Young off the bag, and Lopez scored to tie the game at three. With Rosario at bat, Podorsky stole second, and the throw from catcher Miguel Amaya was mishandled, allowing Suwinski to sprint home for the 4-3 lead.

Gabriel Arias bats in the first inning. Mason Thompson pitches to Chris Singleton in the top of the first. Photo by Ken Bugajski / EVTimes

The Cubs had tied the game in the top of the ninth, manufacturing a run after a leadoff single by Rafael Narea. Zach Davis bunted, and Carkuff was able to get the ball to second base to force Narea, but left Davis safe on a fielder’s choice. After stealing second, Davis scored on a two-out double by Jhonny Bethancourt.

Prior to the TinCaps’ offensive outburst in the seventh inning, the Cubs’ starter, Cory Abbott, dominated the home team lineup, allowing only two hits—both to Campusano—and two walks—both to Rosario. Abbott overpowered TinCaps’ hitters, recording 11 Ks and—aside from Campusano—striking out every other batter in the lineup at least once.

On the TinCaps’ side of the mound, starter Mason Thompson followed his impressive Monday outing with an uneven performance, giving up three runs on four hits across 5.1 innings of work. Each of the Cubs’ first three runs resulted from putting the first batter on base. The Cubs jumped on Thompson early, as Chris Singleton started the game with a base hit to left field. After moving to second on a ground out, Young singled to bring the runner around for a 1-0 lead. Young came through for the Cubs again in the third inning, when he hit a sacrifice fly to score Davis, who had singled to start the inning. In the sixth, Thompson walked Amaya, who eventually made it home after a couple of ground outs and another base hit moved him around the diamond. Beyond the runs, however, Thompson pitched inconsistently, lacking the same degree of control and placement he displayed on Monday. Even so, his final line (5 1/3 innings, 3 runs, 4 hits, 3 Ks, and 3 walks) shows that he continued to fight, even though he was not throwing his best.

The TinCaps will look to sweep the series Sunday afternoon, when MacKenzie Gore is expected to take the mound.

Game Notes:

Announced attendance was 7, 559, the largest of the 2018 season….Only two TinCaps had multiple-hit games, Campusano, who hit three singles, and Arias, who went 2-for-5, including the game winner….Cubs pitching combined for 15 total strikeouts, and seven TinCaps struck out twice….Rosario walked in his first two at-bats; he was caught attempting to steal second both times….TinCaps’ relief pitchers Evan Miller and Carkuff combined for seven strikeouts across 4.2 innings.

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