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The Journal Gazette

Wednesday, April 10, 2019 2:20 pm

TinCaps beat Dayton, 12-2, third straight victory

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

After a lackluster offensive performance in the early innings Tuesday, the TinCaps came out aggressively with the bats today. In that effort, they had some help from the Dragons. Starting pitcher Jacob Heatherly walked in a pair of runs and got just two outs before being pulled from the game. Catcher Jay Schuyler didn't help matters by bouncing the throw back to the pitcher four times in the first inning and forcing the middle infielders to back up those tosses. Shortstop Claudio Finol chipped in an error and when the dust settled it was 3-0 TinCaps after an inning. Blake Hunt had an RBI single to get the scoring started and Fort Wayne batted around.

The TinCaps talked on a run in the second, with more help from Dayton. Xavier Edwards led off with a soft single back through the middle. The speedster quickly tried to steal second and Schuyler airmailed the throw into center field, giving Edwards a chance to reach third. Tucupita Marcano then grounded to second and Edwards trotted home to make it a four-run advantage.

As the TinCaps were piling up runs in the early going, starting pitcher Ryan Weathers was keeping the Dragons off the scoreboard. Weathers picked up right where he left in his first start, mowing down the Dayton hitters with a combination of a live fastball, good off-speed command and aggressiveness early in counts. There was hardly any hard contact against him and cruised through the first five innings for the second straight start.

Fort Wayne tacked on a couple of runs in the fifth to essentially salt the game away. Agustin Ruiz drove in the first run with a booming double down the line in left field and Luis Almanzar knocked home the second when he dumped a single into center field. The flurry left Fort Wayne in front 6-0, giving Weathers plenty of cushion to work with as he stayed on for the sixth inning.

Weathers finally showed signs of tiring in that sixth. After an infield single, Shard Munroe sliced a line drive the other way to left and it got all the way to the wall for a triple, the first non-infield hit Weathers surrendered. It also brought in the first run of the day for Dayton and the first run Weathers had given up all season. Schuyler added a single to center later in the inning to make it 6-2 and bring Weathers close to the end of his start. Manager Anthony Contreras exited the dugout and Weathers held the ball out, ready to exit, but Contreras gave him one more batter. Weathers gave the last hitter everything he had and whiffed Bren Spillane on a 93 mph fastball to end the inning.

The TinCaps continued to add on in the late innings, scoring three runs in the sixth and the seventh. The bottom of the seventh began with four consecutive walks to Fort Wayne hitters and the TinCaps eventually pushed the lead to 10 runs.

Player of the Game: Ryan Weathers

Weathers (1-0) set a career-high with six innings pitched and picked up his first professional victory in the process. He gave up two runs on five hits while striking out eight and walking none. In his first two starts this season, he's whiffed 17 hitters and walked none. He pitched 11 1/3 scoreless innings before surrendering his first run of the season. He threw 84 pitches.

Facts and Figures

The TinCaps have won three games in a row for the first time this season. They are in first place in the Eastern Division. This is their first series victory of the season. ... The TinCaps' starters this season have struck out 45 and walked five this season. Weathers was the fourth starter of the first seven to walk none. ... Almanzar went 1 for 4 with a walk and two RBI and has a hit in all five games he's played this season. Ruiz went 2 for 5 with a run scored and three RBI and has a hit in all six games he's played. He has five multi-hit games. ... Xavier Edwards went 3 for 4 with a walk, a stolen base and three runs scored. He has four multi-hit games this season. ... The announced attendance was 6,136, the highest this season by more than 2,500. ... By my count, Schuyler bounced at least 16 throws back to the pitcher, in addition to two wild throws to second on stolen base attempts. ... TinCaps reliever Trent Shelton tossed three perfect innings to end the game. He struck out three and earned his first professional save.

What's Next?

The TinCaps are back in action Thursday for the finale of the four-game series against Dayton at Parkview Field. First pitch will be at 7:05 p.m. Fort Wayne will send right-hander Efrain Contreras (0-0, 4.50 ERA) to the mound for his second start of the season, while the Dragons will counter with 6-foot-4 right-hander Jhon De Jesus (1-0, 0.00), who pitched five shutout innings in his first start of the season.