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The Journal Gazette

Friday, May 18, 2018 10:00 pm

TinCaps beat South Bend Cubs, 13-2

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

The TinCaps (18-22) exploded on offense Thursday with 13 hits and continued their hot hitting in the first inning tonight. Fort Wayne scored five runs in the top of the first after six straight hitters reached with two outs. Two walks were followed by errors on third baseman Austin Filiere and second baseman Jhonny Bethencourt. 

Fort Wayne has been successful recently in part by cashing in scoring opportunities when it has them. The TinCaps did that again in the first inning, as both Juan Fernandez and Jack Suwinski came through with two-out, RBI hits. Suwinski's two-run single put the home team in front 5-0 and it wasn't threatened all night.

The TinCaps' offense wasn't done, though. It continued to take advantage of South Bend errors in the second as the Cubs added two more miscues to the two they committed in the first. An RBI single for Tirso Ornelas was the big hit and after two innings Fort Wayne led 7-0. Six of the runs to that point were unearned against South Bend starter Rollie Lacy.

Meanwhile, TinCaps pitcher Nick Margevicius put any thoughts of a comeback to rest early. He had arguably his best stuff of the season, which is saying something for a pitcher that came in with a 2.81 ERA. He whiffed the first hitter he saw on three pitches and didn't get much less stingy after that. The left-hander retired the first 12 hitters he faced, six via strikeout, utilizing a sharp-breaking curveball that the Cubs repeatedly swung over the top of.

The Cubs (17-22) did not get any better on defense as the game continued. In the fourth inning, the culprit was shortstop Rafael Narea, who made back-to-back errors with one out, putting runners on the corners. Center fielder Chris Singleton made it three errors in the inning with a bad throw to third on a Justin Lopez single, letting Luis Almanzar score from first and put Fort Wayne in front 9-0.

South Bend scored a run in the fifth to ruin Margevicius' shutout – Austin Filiere broke up the perfect game with a single – and added another tally in the seventh when Michael Cruz drove a homer to right on a Margevicius fastball. 

The game was never in doubt, but just to make sure, Juan Fernandez put an exclamation point on the win with a three-run homer in the seventh. It was Fernandez's first home run of the season and left the park quickly to left field. When he returned to the dugout, the TinCaps pretended not to notice him originally before mobbing him as he sat down.

Player of the Game: Nick Margevicius 

Despite the TinCaps scoring 13 runs, Margevicius outshone any hitter. He pitched a season-high seven innings, striking out eight and giving up just two runs on four hits. He also did not walk a batter. The left-hander's ERA dropped to 2.77 in seven starts, easily the best in the rotation. Margevicius mixed his pitches well, complementing a consistently well located fastball with a hard-breaking curveball. He worked on the curve in the offseason and it has become a go-to pitch for him to get strikeouts this year.

Facts and Figures

Rain fell at the beginning of the game, but it was played without any delays. ... The win was the TinCaps' third in a row. With the victory, Fort Wayne passes South Bend in the standings, moving into sixth place in the Eastern Division. ... Fort Wayne had a five-run inning for the second straight game after scoring five in the fifth Thursday. The TinCaps sent nine hitters to the plate in the first inning tonight. ... Fernandez went 2 for 4 with a home run and a double. The home run jumped off his bat at 104 mph and traveled 367 feet. It was his fourth home run in three seasons as a pro. Ornelas homered in the eighth, his third of the season. It traveled 393 feet and was his second hit of the night. He has three multi-hit games in his last five. ...  Luis Almanzar has scored six runs in the last four games, including three tonight. ... South Bend committed seven errors. Starter Rollie Lacy went four innings and gave up nine runs, eight of which were unearned. The TinCaps only had eight hits. ... The Padres sent Tre Carter to extended spring training before the game and added outfielder Robbie Podorsky to the TinCaps roster. Podorsky hit ninth and went 0 for 4. ... Margevicius came in fifth in the Midwest League with 44 strikeouts. ... Cruz's home run was his fifth of the season, tying Miguel Amaya for most on the team. It left his bat at 103 mph and traveled 387 feet. ... It was Grease Night at Parkview Field, celebrating the 40th anniversary of the popular 1978 movie.

What's Next?

These teams meet again Saturday night at Parkview Field with the TinCaps looking for their fourth straight win. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. Right-hander Mason Thompson (4-3, 6.28 ERA) will start for Fort Wayne. Thompson leads the team in wins and has given up two runs in his last 15 innings. Right-hander Cory Abbott (2-1, 3.26 ERA), a 2017 second-round pick, will start for the Cubs.

dsinn@jg.net