FORT WAYNE – Jace Peterson knows what his role is as Fort Wayne’s leadoff man.
I’m just going out there trying to set a pace, the shortstop said Friday.
Peterson did just that, collecting three hits, scoring three runs and driving in one in Fort Wayne’s 9-3 victory over Lake County in front of 2,912 fans Friday at Parkview Field.
Donavan Tate had two hits. The left fielder, who bats second, drove in a run as the TinCaps (1-1) won for the first time this season.
That’s what the leadoff guy and the second guy are supposed to do, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. They didn’t try to do too much. That’s what I told Peterson, just get on base and have some good at-bats.
Alberth Martinez and Austin Hedges both scored two runs. Martinez also had an RBI double.
That was plenty of offense as Fort Wayne’s pitchers combined to strike out 14 Captains (1-1).
(Starting pitcher Adys) Portillo was great, Valentin said. Our bullpen again was outstanding. They made the pitches when we needed.
Portillo, who is limited to a pitch count, went four innings. He allowed one unearned run and did not give up a hit.
He struck out four and walked three.
I felt good. I had fastball command. And I had a pretty good slider too after the first inning, Portillo said.
Reliever John Barbato struck out five in the next two innings to pick up the victory.
Fort Wayne broke the game open with four runs in the sixth inning.
We got some clutch hits, Peterson said. Some people were able to come through with some good hits.
The TinCaps loaded the bases with one out and leading 3-2. Peterson singled to right field, bringing home a run.
I got a fastball in, wasn’t looking to do too much, I just tried to hit a line drive somewhere, Peterson said. It was great base running because it could have been caught. But fortunately it bounced. It was a good team effort all the way around.
Tate hit a grounder to second, which brought home two runs when Lake County second baseman Robel Garcia couldn’t come up with the ball and it rolled into center field. Garcia was charged with an error.
Casey McElroy collected an RBI with a sacrifice fly to stretch the lead to 7-2.
The TinCaps added two more runs in the eighth. Peterson and Tate were again involved in the action.
Peterson started the inning with a single. Tate followed with a double. Peterson eventually scored on a wild pitch. Tate scored when Justin Miller was hit with a pitch with the base loaded.
Matt Stites struck out two of the three batters he faced in the ninth inning to give Valentin his first victory as a professional manager.
This is a new experience for me. It’s something I’ll enjoy, Valentin said. There’s a lot of games left. I have a lot of confidence in my team. They come here to play every day hard. Hopefully it’s the first one out of many.