Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps' Joey Cantillo hands the ball off as he is pulled from the mound after pitching less than an inning during the first inning against the Whitecaps at Parkview Field on Friday.
Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps’ Grant Little takes a swing during Game 1 of Friday’s doubleheaders with the Whitecaps.
Saturday, April 20, 2019 1:00 am
TinCaps 3-2 West Michigan 12-1
Mosser helps TinCaps earn split
DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette
TinCaps vs. West Michigan
Where: Parkview Field
When: 1:05 p.m.
Pitchers: Ramon Perez (TinCaps) vs. Gio Arriera (Whitecaps)
TV: Xfinity 81
Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM
The TinCaps needed Gabe Mosser and he delivered.
After Fort Wayne saw its bullpen taxed in a 12-3 loss in the first game of a doubleheader Friday at Parkview Field, Mosser started the second game and tossed five innings with a career-high eight strikeouts to earn his first win of the season in a 2-1 TinCaps victory and help his team earn a split against the West Michigan Whitecaps in front of an announced crowd of 2,576.
“It was big, it saved our bullpen,” Mosser said of his start. “I'm happy to be the guy who helps save the bullpen. The first inning (with two strikeouts) was the tone-setter and we just had to bounce from there.”
On a night when the “feels like” temperature dipped below 40 degrees, Mosser had everything working. His fastball was darting to the corners and his curveball was dropping sharply downward, getting plenty of ugly swings from Whitecaps hitters.
“I had good command of my fastball today and my off-speed (pitches) played up,” Mosser said. “I think my fastball helped with that.”
The TinCaps (9-7) didn't muster much offense in support of Mosser, but they scored twice in the second inning to give the right-hander all he would need. Juan Fernandez grounded into a bases-loaded double play to put Fort Wayne in front, and Luis Almanzar added the second run on a steal of home when the catcher threw to second on the double steal.
Mosser exited after 81 pitches, but Carlos Belen continued the mound dominance, striking out four in two scoreless innings to earn his second save of the season.
The first game did not go nearly as well for the Fort Wayne pitchers. Starter Joey Cantillo struggled to throw strikes and walked two in two-thirds of an inning. He threw 38 pitches and gave up four runs.
Cantillo added a curveball to his arsenal last season and worked hard during the offseason to make it a usable weapon. He was proud of the progress he made with it, trying to throw it with confidence in any count. It had worked well in the left-hander's first two starts of the season.
“It was always about controlling the pitch because I never had good control of it,” he said. “I'd pop it up, I'd spike it, but I kind of got the feeling after working on it for a long time, throwing strikes. Now with (pitching coach) Matt (Williams), it's not just about throwing a curveball for a strike, it's about throwing a good curveball for a strike.”
Possibly because of the weather, the curveball wasn't there for Cantillo against the Whitecaps. He spiked several of the curves and didn't seem to have the feel for it.
Reliever Korey Anderson likewise struggled, giving up four runs on six hits in 12/3 innings as the Whitecaps extended their lead to 8-0. By the seventh inning, Fort Wayne had brought in utility player Lee Solomon to pitch in an effort to preserve the bullpen.
Dwanya Williams-Sutton continued his hot hitting with a pair of singles and two RBI in the first game and two walks in the second game. He's reached base in all 13 games he's played this season.