FORT WAYNE – Lee Orr paid close attention to how Bowling Green closer Austin Hubbard pitched Fort Wayne teammate Mike Gallic.
The TinCaps trailed the Hot Rods by a run in the ninth May 20 at Parkview Field. And after Gallic was retired, Fort Wayne was down to its final two outs.
Orr stepped to the plate and crushed an opposite-field home run over the right-field wall to tie the game.
You have to know what (the opposing pitchers) strengths are, Orr said of his strategy. His strength was a slider. I saw with Mike. He got up there, took a fastball and then (Hubbard) just threw sliders. Slidered him to death.
I just told myself, If I get a fastball, Ive got to make it count. Luckily, I put the barrel on it and it went out.
The homer started a rally for Fort Wayne, which went on to win 2-1.
Orr has given the TinCaps offense some much-needed punch. The outfielder has four home runs and 10 RBI since joining the team from extended spring training May 14.
Orr has provided late heroics on a couple of occasions for the TinCaps. Two of the four homers have come in the ninth inning.
Ive been in that situation a lot, Orr said. The more and more youre in it, the more comfortable you become. You just try to get a good pitch. You cant think about hitting a home run. You just want to square the ball up and if it goes out, it goes out.
He hit a three-run home run off of Lansings Ajay Meyer with two outs in the top of the ninth to lead the TinCaps to a 5-3 win May 16.
My third at-bat that night (in the seventh inning), I got caught by surprise with a fastball with two strikes, Orr said. (Starter Jesse Hernandez) got it by me. I told myself sit on the fastball and adjust to anything else. I got one down the middle and crushed it.
Orr homered twice during the teams three-game series at South Bend. Fort Wayne returns home today to face Bowling Green.
Orr is hitting .314. Eight of his 11 hits have gone for extra bases.
Hes a strong guy, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. Hes been consistent at home plate. Even when he makes an out, he makes a loud one. Hes hitting the ball hard.
San Diego selected Orr in the 13th round of the 2011 draft out of McNeese State, where he was a teammate of TinCaps shortstop Jace Peterson.
Jace is one of my best friends during the baseball season and during the offseason, Orr said. Were real close. Getting to play with him again is like normal for me. Ive been used to playing with him for four or five years now.
Orr hit eight home runs at San Diegos short-season A team in Eugene, Ore., last season. The power has continued with the TinCaps.
Thats my favorite part of the game, Orr said. Theres no other feeling like it in any other sport.