FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Dylan Lesko struck out nine batters over five scoreless innings as the TinCaps beat the South Bend Cubs, 6-2, on Friday night at Parkview Field in front of 6,230 fans. With eight games remaining in the regular season, Fort Wayne remains 1 ½ games behind the West Michigan Whitecaps in the Midwest League East Division postseason race.
Lesko, 19, earned the first win of his professional career. He was selected by the Padres in the first round of the 2022 MLB Draft out of Buford High Schoo in Georgia. After Tommy John surgery sidelined him last year, the right-hander made his pro debut in June with the rookie-level Padres in Arizona. Following four starts there and five with the Single-A Lake Elsinore Storm, Lesko was promoted to the TinCaps last week and debuted on the road. This was his first performance at Parkview Field.
With a mid-90s fastball, a lethal changeup, and a complimentary curveball, Lesko (No. 4 Padres prospect) set highs for innings pitched and strikeouts in his rookie Minor League Baseball campaign. He threw 85 pitches, also a high, with 50 registering as strikes.
Meanwhile, the TinCaps (32-26 second half, 64-60 overall) gave Lesko a lead in the second. First baseman Griffin Doersching demolished a home run off the second-level of The Harrison, beyond left field. It was the Wisconsin native’s third home run in seven games with the team since he came up from Lake Elsinore with Lesko.
Even though there were two outs and no one on base in the third, Fort Wayne rallied to add three runs as right fielder Lucas Dunn delivered a two-run single and Doersching, who finished with a game-best three hits, provided a run-scoring single.
Second baseman Nerwilian Cedeño (No. 27 Padres prospect) socked a two-run homer in the fourth that made it 6-0. It was his fifth homer of the season, all coming since July 29.
South Bend (22-35, 52-70) battled with a run in the seventh and another in the eighth, but Keegan Collett closed it with a four-out save, his team-leading eighth save of the year.
The TinCaps have won three in a row over the Cubs.
Next Game: Saturday, Sept. 2 vs. South Bend (6:35 p.m.)
- TinCaps Probable Starter: LHP Austin Krob (No. 28 Padres prospect)
- Cubs Probable Starter: RHP Luis Devers