How it Happened
TinCaps starter Gabe Mosser had been very good recently until this homestand, but in two starts at Parkview Field in the last week, he has really struggled. The game got off to an inauspicious start Miguel Vargas grounded to short and the ball went directly through Tucupita Marcano's legs. Grant Little also dropped a fly ball for an error in the first inning (albeit after a long run) and Jacob Amaya ripped a two-run triple to deep center, as well. By the time the inning was over, the TinCaps trailed 4-0, the second straight day they'd been behind big after the top of the first.
The TinCaps tried to respond in the bottom half and cut the deficit in half temporarily with a two-run double to deep left off the bat of Michael Curry, who remains hot. It was only a temporary reprieve, however, and the Loons continued their onslaught in the second.
After all four runs in the first were unearned because of the two errors, Great Lakes posted four earned tallies in the second. Three of them came on a single swing from first baseman Dillon Paulson, who unloaded on a pitch from Mosser for a 425-foot home run to right field and a 8-2 Loons lead. The homer was the longest hit at Parkview Field this season and Paulson's free-flowing home run swing reminded me of Cubs slugger Ian Happ.
The TinCaps got another run back in the third when second baseman Justin Lopez turned on a 3-1 pitch and lined a solo homer to left field to make it 9-3. The blast traveled 367 feet and left the infielder's bat at 101 mph for his seventh long ball of the year. That total leads the TinCaps and also surpasses Lopez's total from all of last season.
In the fourth, however, Great Lakes really put the game away. Against reliever Edwuin Bencomo, Loons second baseman Miguel Vargas absolutely unloaded on a fastball, launching it 403 feet to left field for another three-run homer. Vargas knew it was gone as soon as he hit the ball and stayed at the plate to admire it just a bit. When he touched home, it was 12-3.
The TinCaps picked up two runs in different but equally bizarre fashion in the fifth. With one out and runners on first and second, Justin Lopez hit a line drive to left. Chris Roller easily made the catch, but then he began jogging in and tossed the ball into the stands, thinking it was the third out. The ball went out of play, letting Jawuan Harris score from second and Tucupita Marcano end up at third. Just a few pitches later, Loons starter John Rooney uncorked a wild pitch that went to the backstop. The ball got caught in the netting between the field and the stands – a near impossibility, considering the relative size of the ball and the openings in the net – letting the runner score automatically from third. The two unorthodox runs made it 14-5.
Player of the Game: Miguel Vargas
Vargas went 4 for 6 with two home runs, four RBI and four runs scored. He has won Player of the Game two days in a row. Over those two games combined, Vargas has eight hits, three home runs, eight RBI and eight runs scored. What a series.
Facts and Figures
The TinCaps and Loons have played nine times since June 1. Great Lakes has won eight of those games, including six in a row. ... The TinCaps were swept at home for the first time since May 3-5 against Quad Cities. The Loons outscored Fort Wayne a combined 25-12 in the final two games of this series. ... The Loons' 16 runs were a season-high given up by Fort Wayne and the TinCaps made a season-high five errors. ... TinCaps reliever Carlos Belen gave up an earned run for the first time since May 15. He pitched 1 2/3 innings, giving up one run and striking out two. It was the first time in 16 appearances covering 18 2/3 innings he'd surrendered an earned run. ... All seven of Lopez's team-leading home runs this season have come since May 15. ... Xavier Edwards came in leading the league in hitting at .337 and OBP at .392 and went 2 for 5 with a double and a run scored. ... Marcano went 3 for 4 with a walk, two runs scored and an RBI. ... Vargas and Paulson combined for six home runs in the three games against the TinCaps. They each hit three. ... Bencomo was making his first appearance in any level above rookie ball. The 20-year-old right-hander pitched an inning and gave up four runs (two earned). ... Mosser came into the game leading the Midwest League in K/BB, but struck out just two and walked one tonight. He gave nine runs in three innings, though only five were earned.
The TinCaps open a four-game series against Lake County on Tuesday. The first two games of the series will be in Eastlake, Ohio at Classic Park and then the teams will return to Fort Wayne for the Fourth of July and another game the following day. The TinCaps will start Joey Cantillo, Ryan Weathers, Sam Keating and Omar Cruz in the four-game series.