MIDLAND, Mich. – The Fort Wayne TinCaps fell to the Great Lakes Loons (Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate), 4-3, in the series opener at Dow Diamond on Tuesday night.
Starting pitching dominated the early goings of the game. Loons starter and No. 28 Dodgers prospect Gavin Stone stymied the TinCaps lineup the first time through, setting them down in order with six strikeouts over his first three innings. Fort Wayne left-hander Danny Denz matched him with a one-two-three bottom of the first, and danced out of trouble in the second and third.
The TinCaps (49-54) opened scoring in the top of the fourth. After a single from Padres No. 3 prospect and center fielder Robert Hassell III led off the inning, top-30 prospects Euribiel Angeles and Tirso Ornelas followed with back-to-back bunt singles. Eventually, designated hitter Jonny Homza walked with the bases loaded, driving in the first run of the game.
After Denz concluded his four-inning scoreless outing, the Loons (56-47) jumped out to a 2-1 lead against the ‘Caps bullpen in the fifth. Back-to-back doubles from center fielder Jonny DeLuca and left fielder Joe Vranesh plated the first, and Vranesh came in to score on an RBI single from third baseman Eddys Leonard to take the lead.
A half-inning later, Fort Wayne tied the game at two on a wonky run-producing groundout from shortstop Justin Lopez. After Lopez chopped a ground ball to Loons shortstop Leonel Valera with the infield playing in, Ornelas broke for the plate on the throw to first. He slid in safely–barely–to give Lopez his 10th RBI over his past four games.
Scoring held until the bottom of the eighth, when command woes cost the TinCaps two runs. The Loons took the lead thanks to four walks, a hit batter, and a wild pitch in the inning.
First baseman Zack Mathis golfed his third home run as a TinCap down the right-field line to lead off the top of the ninth and cut the deficit to a run, but Fort Wayne’s comeback bid was halted there.
The TinCaps still finished the month of August with a 14-12 record, making it their winningest month of the season so far.
Next Game: Wednesday, Sept. 1 at Great Lakes (7:05 p.m.)
· Fort Wayne Probable Starter: RHP Connor Lehmann
· Great Lakes Probable Starter: RHP Hyun-il Choi (Dodgers No. 26 Prospect)
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