With the first half of the season almost over, not finishing with the league’s worst record is the only thing the Fort Wayne TinCaps have left to play for at this point. That task became more difficult this week, with the TinCaps losing two out of three games against the Lake County Captains.
First baseman Brad Zunica posted five hits, two runs, two RBIs and a solo homer, catcher Marcus Greene, Jr. homered twice and second baseman Reinaldo Ilarazza continued to raise his batting average with a pair of multi-hit games.
GAME 1: TinCaps 5, Captains 4
The series opener featured two near-identical performances; both teams’ starters pitched the first six innings, both teams had a reliever work the last three innings and both teams got most of their offense via home runs.
In the end, Zunica’s solo shot in the top of the eighth inning won the game for the TinCaps. Third baseman Hudson Potts homered as well and reliever Hansel Rodriguez (3-6) struck out five and gave up nothing but a solo homer.
First baseman Emmanuel Tapia hit his league-leading 12th homer for Lake County, and outfielders Connor Capel and Junior Soto launched deep shots of their own, but it didn’t add up enough to overcome the three hits and two runs given up by Captains reliever Henry Martinez (1-2).
GAME 2: Captains 7, TinCaps 5
The Captains trailed 5-4 in this one heading into the bottom of the seventh, when a two-run triple broke the game wide open and clinched it for Lake County. Captains catcher Gavin Collins drove in three runs on a homer and a double, and reliever Ryan Colegate (1-0) pitched three innings of one-run ball to keep the game close.
Fort Wayne’s lineup brought plenty of energy, with homers from Greene and outfielders Jorge Ona and Jack Suwinski. Sadly, TinCaps reliever Will Hedean (1-4) couldn’t seal the deal, surrendering four hits and three runs in two innings.
GAME 3: Captains 7, TinCaps 3
The series finale went scoreless through the first six innings before a three-run homer by Greene in the top of the sixth put Fort Wayne up 3-0. Lake County didn’t sit around and wait for long, though; they scored two runs in the seventh inning and a whopping five more in the eighth to seal the win in both the game and the series.
Zunica and shortstop Fernando Tatis Jr. both had multi-hit games for the TinCaps, but Greene was the only batter to put runs on the board. Reliever Blake Rogers (2-2) was responsible for all five Lake County runs in the eighth.
The Captains’ scoring surge started on a two-run homer by outfielder Jose Medina in the seventh, with a three-double from Tapia and RBI singles from Eladio and second baseman Kevin Bradley coming in the eighth. Lake County reliever Justin Garza (2-2) struck out four in 3 1/3 innings, with the only major blemish on his stat line coming via Greene’s homer.
The TinCaps (24-43) now find themselves a game and a half back of Lake County in their effort to avoid finishing with the worst first-half record. Both teams face difficult opponents this weekend; Fort Wayne will stay home to take on the Dayton Dragons, with Lake County hitting the road to battle the South Bend Cubs.