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The Journal Gazette

Saturday, August 17, 2019 10:10 pm

TinCaps beat Bowling Green, 3-2, in series-opener

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

Adrian Martinez got the start for the TinCaps and dominated in the early innings. He hit 95 mph with his fastball and retired the first six hitters he faced, four by strikeout. He set the Hot Rods down in order in the second, all on strikeouts, to keep the game scoreless.

In the bottom of the second, Fort Wayne jumped in front. Designated hitter Ethan Skender stepped to the plate with two outs and nobody on, and on a 3-1 pitch drilled a home run to left-center, his second long ball with Fort Wayne and fifth of the season. The ball traveled 394 feet and had an exit velocity of 101 mph to the TinCaps in front 1-0.

The lead did not last long, however, as Martinez ran into trouble immediately in the third. Chris Betts led off the inning with a soft single to right and Grant Witherspoon followed with a booming double to deep center field. Jawuan Harris got the ball in quickly and the TinCaps had a chance to nail Betts at the plate, but the relay throw was just a little late and he scored to tie the game. The play at the plate also gave Witherspoon a chance to go to third, which turned out to be important when Osmy Gregorio ripped a hot shot to left field for a sacrifice fly that put Bowling Green in front 2-1.

The TinCaps drew even in the sixth inning thanks to back-to-back one-out triples. Ripken Reyes, playing his first game in the Midwest League after getting called up from the Arizona Rookie League, got the rally started, grounding sharply down the first-base line. The ball went under the bench of the Fort Wayne bullpen and stuck there, giving Reyes a chance to race all the around to third as the ball laid there. Blake Hunt followed and on a 1-1 count unloaded on pitch over the middle of the plate, driving it deep to right-center field, where it banged off the wall on the fly and rolled away from center-fielder Nick Schnell for a tying three-bagger.

The TinCaps weren't done, however. With two outs and Hunt still on third, starting pitcher Easton McGee walked Chris Givin, ending his day. Reliever Chris Muller took over and promptly walked Dwanya Williams-Sutton to load the bases for Skender. The red-hot Skender fell behind 1-2, but Muller didn't come close to the strike zone on any of the next three pitches and Skender didn't take the bat off his shoulder, trotting to first with a go-ahead walk. The TinCaps led 3-2 after six innings.

Dylan Coleman, Franklin Van Gurp and Mason Fox each had shutout appearances out of the bullpen to nail down the victory. 

Player of the Game: Ethan Skender

Skender went 1 for 2 with a home run, walk, two RBI and a run scored. He is hitting .320 with the TinCaps this season and has driven in 19 runs.

Facts and Figures

The TinCaps are 14-12 at home and only 9-19 on the road this season. ... Williams-Sutton came in leading the Midwest League in OBP at .409 and went 0 for 2 with a walk. ... Martinez went four innings, giving up two runs on four hits and striking out four with one walk. It was his fourth start of the season, second since he moved into the rotation full-time following the promotion of Joey Cantillo. ... Reyes and Givin, who were called up earlier in the day from the Arizona Rookie League. They combined to go 2 for 7 with a triple, run and a walk. ... Hunt went 2 for 4 with a triple and an RBI. He has five hits in his last two games. He has three triples this season and two of those have come in the last two games. ... Coleman, Van Gurp and Fox combined to record the final 10 outs via strikeout. Fox struck out the side in the eighth and ninth and has 16 strikeouts in seven shutout innings in Fort Wayne. Fox earned his second save with Fort Wayne and third of the season.

What's Next?

These teams meet again Sunday for the second of a four-game series at Parkview Field. First pitch is at 3:05 p.m. The TinCaps will top pitching prospect Ryan Weathers (3-5, 3.59 ERA) to the mound. He's coming off a start in South Bend in which he gave up one run in five innings despite his slider not being as sharp as it's been recently. The Hot Rods will counter with 20-year-old right-hander Zack Trageton (3-0, 2.08 ERA), who has dominated in 17 1/3 innings in the Midwest League.

dsinn@jg.net