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The Journal Gazette

Tuesday, June 26, 2018 10:00 pm

TinCaps beat Bowling Green, 3-2

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

The game-turning play came in the TinCaps' half of the sixth. As has happened so often recently, Robbie Podorsky was at the center of the rally. The left-fielder led off with a grounder to short and beat it out for an infield single. After a sacrifice bunt advanced Podorsky to second and Jeisson Rosario flew out, 18-year-old Justin Lopez stepped to the plate. The designated hitter clubbed a fly ball to deep left that bounced off the concrete above the "Journal Gazette" sign in right field for a home run.

The base umpire originally called the ball in play because it bounced back on to the field and Lopez was tagged "out" rounding second. Manager Anthony Contreras asked for a check with the plate umpire and the pair huddled as fans chanted "home run, home run." They eventually changed the call – correctly – and Lopez circled the bases to put Fort Wayne in front 3-1.

The game was a pitcher's duel from the start. TinCaps starter Aaron Leasher and Bowling Green's Tobias Myers dueled through four scoreless innings, matching zeroes with the help of some solid defense behind them.

Leasher especially got some assistance from the Fort Wayne fielders to help him escape a couple of jams. In the second, he gave up a leadoff double to left-fielder Moises Gomez that left Gomez's bat at 109 mph. Midwest League Home Run Derby Champion Ronaldo Hernandez followed with a long fly to center that Rosario chased down on the dead run. Rosario made another running catch on the warning track later in the inning and then threw out a runner trying to go from first to third on a single in the sixth. Leasher also picked off a runner from first, as did catcher Jalen Washington, helping snuff out a couple of rallies before they could get started.

The TinCaps finally broke through in the fifth. Gabriel Arias led off and dropped a bunt between third and the pitcher's mound. He legged it out for a hit and reached second on a ground ball. Arias' fellow 18-year-old Luis Almanzar hit with one out and blooped a double down the right-field line, driving in Arias with the game's first run. 

The Hot Rods answered in the top of the sixth. After repeatedly seeing rallies stall on the bases, leadoff hitter Taylor Walls took matters into his own hands and lined a home run into the seats over the left-field wall. The ball traveled 363 feet and left his bat at 91 mph, nothing special for a home run, but it knotted the score at 1.

The Hot Rods got one run back in the ninth when catcher Ronaldo Hernandez launched a home run off the facade in center field. It was Hernandez's 12th of the season and second of the series, cutting Fort Wayne's lead in half. 

Player of the Game: Justin Lopez

Lopez, the youngest player in the Midwest League, had the game's big blow with the sixth-inning homer. It was his fifth of the season and traveled 374 feet. It was the designated hitter's second long ball in the last three days, after he'd hit a three-run homer in the series finale against West Michigan.

Facts and Figures

Tirso Ornelas did not play, so his 26-game on-base streak remains intact. It's the second-longest streak in the league, behind only Lake County's Tyler Friis, who is on a 28-game streak. Friis is now on the disabled list. ... Almanzar's go-ahead double in the fifth was his first extra-base hit since June 9. He came in slugging .217 in 35 games. ... Leasher went six innings, giving up one run on six hits and striking out six in his first start since May 29. He got the win to improve to 4-3. Leasher has given up two runs in 19 innings over his last four appearances. ... After Lopez's homer, Bowling Green second baseman Trey Hair argued with the base umpire whose original call was changed and Hair got ejected. ... TinCaps relievers pitched three scoreless innings. Caleb Boushley pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth, striking out two and giving up one hit. Travis Radke finished by pitching the ninth for his 10th save. He has pitched three innings in the series. ... Podorsky went 2 for 4 with a pair of infield singles and a run scored. ... Esteury Ruiz and Arias both had two hits for Fort Wayne. ... In the ninth inning, Bowling Green's Moises Gomez lined what looked like a hit to right, but he didn't see the ball and didn't run out of the box. It turned into a rare 9-3 outfield

What's Next?

These teams will complete their three-game series at Parkview Field on Wednesday. First pitch will be at 12:05 p.m. The TinCaps will send left-hander Osvaldo Hernandez (4-3, 2.25 ERA) to the mound as they go for the sweep. The 20-year-old leads Midwest League starters in ERA. The Hot Rods will counter with right-hander Austin Franklin (5-2, 3.39 ERA). 

dsinn@jg.net