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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, May 19, 2018 12:00 am

TinCaps tie season-high in runs, win third straight

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

The TinCaps' offense broke out on Thursday night, falling one short of a season-high with 13 hits and winning the finale of their four-game series against the West Michigan Whitecaps. They stayed hot Friday, equaling a season-high with 13 runs, despite only totaling eight hits. 

Fort Wayne had plenty of help from a sieve-like South Bend defense that committed two errors in the first, two in the second and three more in the third. At some point, the TinCaps must have realized that this was not the Cubs' night and the home team never let up, putting together good at-bats all game and piling on runs in the late innings. 

"This group won't be complacent and be like, 'Oh we got it' and cash it in," manager Anthony Contreras said of his team. "I won't let them do that. They'll keep putting their foot on the gas and having good (at-bats).

"It's good to see, like Ornelas come up in that (eighth) inning and hit that home run and Fernandez to come up and have the at-bat he did (with a home run in the seventh). That's what we told these guys, baseball's a weird game like that where you never know when it's gonna start or end. You wanna keep your foot on the gas."

Ornelas and Fernandez were two of the many standouts at the plate, both going 2 for 4 and collecting three extra-base hits between them. Ornelas' home run was a moonshot that he golfed out to right field. It was a very impressive swing of the bat and illustrative of the tremendous power he could have as he matures physically. Fernandez's homer, his first of the season, was a screamer out to left field and it was fitting, since he's been one of the catalysts behind the upbeat nature of this team on the homestand, celebrating every hit in the dugout like it's a game-winner. This team is clearly having fun right now and Fernandez is at the center of that.

Of course, neither home run was necessary because Nick Margevicius put any thoughts of a comeback to rest in the first few innings. The left-hander was as good as he's been all year, throwing a season-high seven innings and striking out eight. His first three innings, in which he retired all nine hitters and fanned six of them, were masterful. He located his fastball on the corners all night and his curveball, which he worked hard to improve in the offseason, has become a wipeout pitch.

"That's what we expect from him," Contreras said. "When you watch his bullpens, watch the way he goes about his business, he's the type of player that depends on his location and his control and he did much of the same tonight."

This was as good of an all-around performance as the TinCaps have had all season and this team is rolling again after a tough road trip. Fort Wayne can make it five wins in six games when it takes on South Bend again Saturday night.

dsinn@jg.net