Your Fort Wayne TinCaps finished off their recent homestand by splitting a four-game set with the Lansing Lugnuts. Despite sitting 13 1/2 games behind Lansing in the standings, the TinCaps weren’t intimidated, and their bats rode that wave of confidence to average six runs per game.
Catcher Marcus Greene, Jr. led the way for Fort Wayne with two homers and four RBI, and outfielder Rod Boykin caught fire with six hits, three runs, three RBI, two steals and a home run.
GAME 1: TinCaps 5, Lugnuts 4
The series opener looked a lot closer than it was. Despite picking up four runs, the Lugnuts only racked up six hits, with no batter getting more than one. Center fielder Edward Olivares had a nice game, with a solo homer, a steal and a walk; not so much the case for Lansing starting pitcher Denis Diaz (0-3), who gave up seven hits, four runs and three walks in 4 2/3 innings.
Fort Wayne was keyed by Greene, whose three hits–two doubles and a longball–all went for extra bases. Infielders Brad Zunica and Reinaldo Ilarazza both tacked on RBI doubles, and starting pitcher Ronald Bolanos (2-1) was in top shape, ceding only two runs in five innings while striking out nine.
GAME 2: TinCaps 8, Lugnuts 4
Game 2 was all about TinCaps ace Logan Allen, who continues to put on a show every start. Allen worked around five hits, two runs and two walks allowed to strike out six batters in six innings. His already incredible strikeout numbers now sit at 70 K in 57 1/3 innings, with a K/9 of 10.99 and a K/BB of 3.04. Fans should enjoy him while he’s still on Fort Wayne’s roster.
The TinCaps put on a power show from the plate as well, as Zunica, Ilarazza, and shortstop Fernando Tatis, Jr. all hit homers to make this one a no-doubter for Fort Wayne.
Olivares homered for the second straight game to spark the Lugnuts, but ten team hits for Lansing didn’t yield enough scoring to win. It didn’t help matters that reliever Tayler Saucedo (2-2) couldn’t keep the game locked down, getting torched for seven hits, six runs and two walks in 3 1/3 innings.
GAME 3: Lugnuts 6, TinCaps 5
A promising start to the game for Fort Wayne collapsed late as Lansing staged a five-run rally in the seventh and grabbed one more run in the eighth to clinch it. Olivares’ third homer of the series turned out to be a game-winner, and outfielder JB Woodman added a three-run bomb of his own.
Reliever Kirby Snead (4-1) was absolutely clutch, striking out every batter he faced in 1 2/3 scoreless innings when the Lugnuts needed him the most.
Fort Wayne got homers from Boykin, Ilarazza and Tatis to jump out early, but relievers Nick Monroe and Blake Rogers couldn’t protect the lead in the seventh, and Emmanuel Ramirez (0-2) put the final nail in the coffin when Olivares went yard on him.
GAME 4: Lugnuts 9, TinCaps 7
The seventh inning was as kind to Lansing in the finale as it was the game before, as three runs in that frame were the game-winners for the Lugnuts. Olivares picked up three more hits, but this time the home runs came from designated hitter Mitch Nay and catcher Ridge Smith. Reliever Griffin Glaude (3-1) gave up a run late but otherwise steered the ship well, striking out three in 2 1/3 innings.
Fort Wayne’s bats were led by Greene, who homered again; so did designated hitter GK Young and third baseman Hudson Potts. Unfortunately, reliever Diomar Lopez (0-2) couldn’t handle Lansing in the seventh, giving up all three of their runs.
Despite an admirable series showing, Fort Wayne (23-41) now sits half a game behind the Lake County Captains (winners of three games this past weekend), and are once again saddled with the infamy of holding the league’s worst record.
The good news is that Fort Wayne will travel to the Cleveland metro area for three games with the Captains, who lost two out of three to the TinCaps last week.