Fort Wayne, Indiana
In the series finale with the Lansing Lugnuts, the TinCaps managed a quick offensive strike, but a disastrous 7th inning turned the game into a 13-4 runaway victory for the visiting team.
The TinCaps drew first blood in the bottom of the first. After back-to-back singles by two- and three-hitters Justin Lopez and Tirso Ornelas, designated hitter Luis Campusano stepped to the plate. On the third pitch, he took Lugnuts starter Zach Logue deep to for a three-run homer that just cleared the right field fence.
While the TinCaps maintained that lead through 6 innings, the early outburst was the only significant offense the TinCaps would mount until the bottom of the 9th, when the outcome of the game had long been decided.
The Lugnuts began chipping away at the lead in the 5th inning. After a lead-off double by Matt Morgan and a wild pitch and walk by TinCaps starter Aaron Leasher, runners were at the corners. Chavez Young hit into a double play, scoring Morgan and getting the Lugnuts on the board. Another run followed in the 6th. Following a one-out walk, reliever Henry Henry took the mound. Henry recorded that last two outs of the inning, but not before a long single by Christian Williams brought Leasher’s walk around to score.
In the 7th inning, the wheels came off the bus, and the horror can be revisited only in summary form. In an inning that featured seven walks, five hits, two balks, and wild pitch, the Lugnuts sent 16 batters to the plate and scored 11 runs. When Henry took the mound in the top of the 7th, he was clearly off his game; in facing six batters, he walked three and balked twice. Manager Anthony Contreras brought in Spencer Kulman, but the bleeding only continued. Kulman faced nine batters, walking four. Following the final walk, Contreras called catcher Jalen Washington from the bench to close out the inning. In all, the Lugnuts sent 12 batters to the plate before the TinCaps recorded the first out of the inning, and they scored the first 11 of those 12.
There were only a few bright spots beyond the TinCaps first inning. Leasher had a fairly solid start, going 5.1 innings and giving up two runs on three hits. Although he walked four, he also recorded five strike outs. The third, fourth, and fifth batters in the TinCaps’ lineup, Ornelas, Campusano, and Carlos Belen, respectively, each had multiple-hit nights, and Ornelas went 3-for-4.
Friday, the TinCaps travel to Kentucky for a 3-game series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Mason Thompson is scheduled as the starter for Friday.
Announced attendance was 4,049.
Reinaldo Ilarraza drove in an RBI in bottom of the 9th, singling to bring in Juan Fernandez from second base.
First baseman Carlos Belen pitched the top of the 9th and had one K.
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.