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The Journal Gazette

Sunday, June 17, 2018 6:30 pm

TinCaps finish first half with sweep, 32-37 record

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

The first half has come to a close and the TinCaps finished five games below .500. They lost eight of their final 13, but swept the final weekend series against the Great Lakes Loons, including a 7-4 victory in the first-half finale at Parkview Field.

The offense woke up in Sunday's win, collecting 14 hits and scoring more than five runs for the first time in eight games. Luis Campusano, Tirso Ornelas and Gabriel Arias all had two-hit games to lead Fort Wayne to the win, while Justin Lopez drove in two.

Campusano has been one of the team's best hitters over the last month and he's hitting .324 since May 15 after going 2 for 3 with a double and three runs scored in Sunday's matchup. It was just the second time this season he's scored multiple runs in a game and the first time he's scored three.

"I'm just putting up quality (at-bats), not trying to do too much," Campusano said. "The results are sometimes going in my favor, but I'm just trying to battle for my team, get on or move them over and do whatever I can to help them win."

All 11 runs in this game were scored before the sixth inning. TinCaps starter Mason Thompson gave up all four of his team's runs, though it seemed like he had good stuff at the outset. He struck out the side in the first, showing off a very good curveball, but manager Anthony Contreras said he lost his command a little as the game went on. Thompson struck out just one more hitter during the rest of his outing, which lasted 4 2/3 innings. He gave up nine hits and seemed to be laboring for most of his outing.

Part of that could have been the sweltering heat, which seemed to make everyone at least a little sluggish. Neither team went in order until the Loons did so in the eighth inning and the game seemed to be headed for a 3.5-hour runtime if Evan Miller had not shut the Loons down quickly in the eighth and ninth.

Miller's two shutout innings in which he faced the minimum helped him earn his third save of the season and completed an excellent weekend for the Fort Wayne bullpen. TinCaps relievers pitched 15 1/3 innings in the series and gave up only two runs, a 1.17 ERA. 

"Especially the back-end, (Travis) Radke, Miller, (Ben) Sheckler, those guys have been doing a good job holding their own," Contreras said. "We look to them to do the same thing in the second half."

The TinCaps will have three days off for the All-Star break and will begin the second half Thursday against the West Michigan Whitecaps at Parkview Field. They play their first seven games at home, so it will be an excellent opportunity to get off to a good start as they try to repeat 2017's second-half surge.