DAYTON, Ohio – The Fort Wayne TinCaps rallied late, but lost their 2022 opener to the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds affiliate), 6-5, on Friday night at Day Air Ballpark.
After trailing 3-0 and then 6-1, the ‘Caps responded with a run in the eighth and then four in the ninth, but with the bases loaded, the Dragons eventually escaped.
Dayton jumped out to an early 3-0 lead, scoring one run in the first and two in the second inning. Dragons second basemen Jose Torres drove in two of the three runs with a single and double in the first and third, respectively.
The TinCaps’ dominant bullpen performance kept them in the game. Felix Minjarez entered the game midway through the bottom of the third inning and pitched a scoreless inning and two-thirds, recording all five of his outs via strikeouts.
In relief of Minjarez, Fort Recovery High School (OH) alum Nick Thwaits shined in his TinCaps debut back in the Buckeye State. Thwaits went a scoreless two innings with four strikeouts of his own. As a pair, Minjarez and Thwaits fanned nine of the 12 batters they faced.
Fort Wayne’s first run of the game came in the eighth inning on a Ripken Reyes solo home run. Reyes pulled the first pitch he saw in the top of the eighth inning, also the first pitch thrown by reliever Myles Gayman, and sent it beyond the right-field foul pole to make the score 3-1 at the time.
A pair of errors and a Nick Quintana double extended the Dayton lead to 6-1 in the bottom of the eighth inning, but once again the bullpen came up big. Right-handed pitcher Mason Fox entered with runners on second and third base and no outs. The Gardner-Webb product struck out all three batters he retired, only allowing Elly De La Cruz to reach on an error.
The TinCaps were not deterred by the deficit. Angel Solarte walked with one out and Olivier Basabe singled with two outs to make it first and third with score still 6-1. At that point Dragons’ reliever Donovan Benoit walked Ripken Reyes, Corey Rosier and Robert Hassell III to score two runs. Manuel Cachutt came in for Benoit and dealt out two more walks plus a wild pitch to score two more runs.
Starting pitcher Connor Phillips picked up the win for the Dragons with five scoreless innings, while Manuel Cachutt earned a save for Dayton.
Next Game: Saturday, April 9 @ Dayton (1:05 p.m.)
- Fort Wayne Probable Starter: RHP Ryan Bergert
- Dayton Probable Starter: RHP James Marinan