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The Journal Gazette

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette TinCaps starting pitcher Sam Keating made his Parkview Field debut Friday by striking out eight Lansing batters in 51/3 innings of work.

  • Rachel Von | The Journal Gazette The TinCaps’ Justin Lopez gives a low five to Manager Anthony Contreras as he passes by third after hitting a home run during the first inning at Parkview Field on Friday night.

Saturday, May 18, 2019 1:00 am


TinCaps make most of hits

Score 3 in 1st, pitchers do rest to hold off Lansing

VICTORIA JACOBSEN | The Journal Gazette

TinCaps vs. Lansing

Where: Parkview Field

When: 7:05 p.m. today

Pitchers: Angel Acevedo (TinCaps) vs. Josh Winckowski (Lugnuts)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

The TinCaps came out of the gate firing on Friday night, scoring three runs in the first inning, and that's all they would need to beat the Lansing Lugnuts 3-2 and win their second straight. 

Xavier Edwards led off the bottom of the first with a double to right field, and Justin Lopez followed up with a no-doubt home run to right-center. Grant Little kept the inning going with a scorching line-drive single to left and scored on a double by Juan Fernandez to put Fort Wayne (17-22) up 3-0.

The TinCaps came into the game with a slugging percentage of .334, 14th out of 16 teams in the Midwest League, and Lopez's homer was just the third in 19 games. (One of the other two was also hit by Lopez, in a loss at Lake County on Wednesday.)

“The potential is there with a lot of these players,” TinCaps manager Anthony Contreras said of. “A lot of them are really young, growing into their bodies and getting stronger. So we see the potential in batting practice and working out.” 

The first-inning burst of power felt like a carryover from Thursday, when the TinCaps beat the Lugnuts (17-23) 9-0 with five extra-base hits. But after racking up four hits in the first inning, three of them for extra bases, against Lansing starter Cobi Johnson, the TinCaps hit just two more singles the rest of the game. 

“We've got to be able to make adjustments as the game goes on, because these teams are making adjustments against us based on what they see, but that will come with more experience,” Contreras said. “Win yesterday by hitting the ball all over the ballpark and having great pitching. Today was more of the defense, and our pitching staff being able to hold a lead, and our defense being in the right position and making plays behind our staff. Sometimes you have to win ballgames that way.”

Starting pitcher Sam Keating, a right-hander making his second start for the TinCaps and his first start at Parkview Field, made sure Fort Wayne wouldn't need any more runs. He sat down the first six Lugnuts batters and struck out eight in 51/3 innings of work. 

“It was pretty good for his second outing in front of a big crowd like this – the crowd he pitched in front of in Beloit, I think it was like 30, 40 people,” Contreras said. “To come out here, early he was really good. He started to fade a little as the game went on, especially in the sixth inning, but for the most part he gave us a chance. He gave up those two runs, but kept his composure.”

In the top of the third, Keating walked Mc Gregory Contreras, who advanced to second on a wild pitch. Reggie Pruitt knocked a single to center to score Contreras, and then Pruitt came around to score on a double by Otto Lopez that narrowed the TinCaps' lead to 3-2. 

“I wasn't nervous, really, I was just superexcited to get here and pitch in front of the crowd,” Keating said. “My curveball was working really well tonight. I didn't really have that in Beloit. I don't know if it was related to weather – it was freezing and I'd never really pitched in that weather before. But my curveball was really working, and I got them to chase a couple times, landed it for a strike when I needed to, so my off-speed stuff was working well tonight.”

Keating hit the leadoff batter in the sixth inning and was lifted for Nick Kuzia after getting one out in the frame. He finished his outing with four hits allowed and one walk. Kuzia gave up just one hit in 12/3 innings before handing the ball over to Henry Henry to start the eighth. 

With two outs in the top of the ninth, Henry gave up a double to Mc Gregory Contreras, but he induced Luis De Los Santos to groundout to end the game.  

Lugnuts starter Johnson took the loss and was relieved by Fitz Stadler after five innings of work.