Espinoza ejected, TinCaps fall to Loons in 10 innings


FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The Fort Wayne TinCaps pitching staff struck out a season-high 19 hitters in a 6-3 loss to the Great Lakes Loons (Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate) in 10 innings on Thursday night at Parkview Field. The game was played in front of 4,380 fans, the largest crowd for a TinCaps home game this year.

Great Lakes (27-24) threatened mightily in the first inning, but just one came across on TinCaps starter Anderson Espinoza. The Padres’ No. 11 prospect recorded three strikeouts in his lone inning of work.

The Loons doubled their lead on an RBI single from designated hitter Justin Yurchak in the third. It was Yurchak’s second hit of the night, giving the former White Sox farmhand his third straight multi-hit game.

Second baseman Justin Lopez tied the game in the fifth for the TinCaps (23-27). He ripped a two-run home run to right field for his fifth of the season, plating third baseman Ethan Skender. The home run was one of just two hits against Loons starter Jesus Vargas in his five innings.

In the sixth, the TinCaps took the lead after a bunt from shortstop Kelvin Melean and throwing error by Great Lakes pitcher Braidyn Fink allowed center fielder Reinaldo Ilarraza to score from second base. However, the Loons tied the game, 3-3, in the eighth on an RBI double from shortstop Leonel Valera.

After neither team scored in the ninth, Fort Wayne went to extra innings with Great Lakes for the second time in three nights. In the top of the 10th, a sacrifice fly and a two-run single drove in three for the Loons. The TinCaps were shut out in the bottom of the inning by Loons reliever Jack Little.

Fort Wayne’s pitching performance was highlighted by left-hander Erik Sabrowski, who tallied a career-high nine of Fort Wayne’s 19 strikeouts in just his fourth professional appearance. Offensively, Melean collected two hits, increasing his on-base streak to 12 games.

The last time TinCaps pitchers struck out 19 in a game was on July 19, 2018, against the Burlington Bees in 12 innings. On Thursday, all 19 strikeouts came in nine innings. The franchise record for strikeouts in a game as a staff is 20, which has happened twice — most recently on Aug. 5, 2016 in a 15-inning game at South Bend. The last time the TinCaps struck out 19 batters across nine innings was Aug. 19, 2017, also at home against Great Lakes.

Next Game: Friday, July 2 vs. Great Lakes (7:05 p.m.)

– Fort Wayne Probable Starter: LHP Ethan Elliott

– Great Lakes Probable Starter: LHP Alec Gamboa

Watch: Comcast Network 81 | MiLB.TV

Listen: 1380 The Fan & 100.9 FM |

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