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The Journal Gazette

Thursday, May 17, 2018 10:20 pm

TinCaps beat West Michigan 7-3, take 3 of 4 games in series

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

For the only time in this series, the TinCaps scored first. In the second inning, Luis Almanzar led off with a single and Justin Lopez dribbled a hit through the right side to put two on with nobody out. Carlos Belen, hitting lower than usual in the seventh spot in the order, then floated a single to center, driving in Almanzar from second base with the game's first run. Jack Suwinski followed with a line drive over third base to make it four singles in a row to open the inning. Suwinki's hit drove in Lopez and put Fort Wayne in front 2-0. Suwinski was later thrown out trying to advance from first to second on a fly ball, ending the threat.

TinCaps starter Aaron Leasher kept his team in front in the early innings, missing more than his share of West Michigan bats. The left-hander struck out the first two hitters he faced and then whiffed three straight batters in the third inning. In the fourth, however, center fielder Luke Burch led off with a triple off the right-field wall. Suwinski had a chance to make the catch but got turned around and came up short. Dylan Rosa followed with a ground ball to second, driving in Burch and cutting the TinCaps lead to 2-1.

Leasher eventually completed five innings, but left trailing after the Whitecaps rallied with two outs in the fifth and pushed across a pair of runs to take the lead. With runners on first and second and two outs, second baseman Alexis Garcia grounded to third. Almanzar fielded the ball cleanly, but the runner ran in front of him as he was fielding, which might have upset his timing, and he threw the ball away down the right-field line, letting the tying run score. Burch followed with an RBI single that plated the go-ahead run, making the score 3-2 in favor of West Michigan. Both runs were unearned.

The TinCaps didn't trail for long, however, and turned Leasher into a winner. In the bottom of the fifth, the first six Fort Wayne hitters reached base on either singles or walks and the home team scored five runs to take a 7-3 lead. Both Tirso Ornelas and Luis Campusano came through with two-run singles, while a fifth run came across after a Belen single and an error on right fielder Cesar Gonzalez. 10 TinCaps batted in the decisive inning.

Player of the Game: Tirso Ornelas

Ornelas continued his tremendous series, going 2 for 4 with a pair of RBI. He nearly had a third hit in the sixth, but got called out (wrongly, I thought) on an extremely close play at first. The 18-year-old had six hits in the series, including two doubles, and also scored twice. He'd been 2 for his last 24 coming into the series. 

Facts & figures

Luis Almanzar has scored a run in three straight games. ... The TinCaps turned a 3-6-1 double play in the second inning, the third such double play they've pulled off in the last two games. ... Belen's RBI single in the second inning runs his season total to 22, the most on the team. ... Esteury Ruiz went 2 for 4 with a double, a walk and a run scored. He has three multi-hit games in his last five. ... The TinCaps had at least four hits in two different innings and finished with 13 knocks, one short of their season-high. ... Leasher pitched five innings, gave up one earned run and struck out a season-high eight. He's given up one earned run in 12 innings over his last two starts. ... Burch went 3 for 4 with a triple and a run scored. ... The TinCaps' bullpen pitched four scoreless innings. Caleb Boushley threw two, striking out one and former IPFW pitcher Evan Miller worked the eighth and also fanned one. Right-hander Jordan Guerrero worked a 1-2-3 ninth to seal the win, hitting 98 with his fastball. ... Indianapolis Colts quarterback Jacoby Brissett and tight end Jack Doyle visited Parkview Field before the game, signing autographs and throwing out first pitches as part of the "Colts At Bat" tour. Colts cheerleaders and Blue the Mascot also attended the game and performed. 

What's next?

The TinCaps open a three-game series Friday at Parkview Field against the South Bend Cubs. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. Fort Wayne ace Nick Margevicius (1-2, 2.81 ERA) will be on the mound for the home team after seeing his start get rained out in Kane County on Saturday. Right-hander Rollie Lacy (0-0, 2.63) will make his third start of the season for South Bend. He's also made six relief appearances.