TinCaps close road trip with shutout win in West Michigan


COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. (WANE) – The TinCaps shut out the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers affiliate), 2-0, on Sunday afternoon at LMCU Ballpark. Fort Wayne finished its road trip with three consecutive wins.

Three weekends in a row now, the TinCaps have won on Friday, Saturday, and Sunday.

Fort Wayne (46-50) opened the scoring with two outs in the top of the fourth inning against West Michigan (45-51) left-handed starter Adam Wolf. Designated hitter Jonny Homza was hit by a pitch with one out. Then, with two away, second baseman Justin Lopez lined a 2-2 single to left field, advancing Homza to third base. After that, despite being in an 0-2 count, shortstop Chris Givin knocked a single to center to plate Homza.

The TinCaps added an insurance run in the ninth. Lopez walked, Givin bunted for a hit, and catcher Tyler Malone also walked to load the bases. Center fielder Reinaldo Ilarraza smacked a sacrifice fly to center field to bring in Lopez.

On the mound, Fort Wayne pitched its fifth shutout of the season. Left-hander Noel Vela started and retired the first nine batters he faced in order. Vela went 4 2/3 innings with three hits allowed, two walks, and four strikeouts. He left with the bases full in the fifth, but righty reliever Luke Boyd got out of the jam by getting Tigers prospect Parker Meadows to ground out to Lopez at second.

Boyd continued for a scoreless sixth, while Austin Smith worked the seventh, Ramon Perez the eighth, and Kevin Kopps closed out the ninth. For Kopps, the consensus top performer in college baseball this spring at Arkansas, it was his first save in professional baseball. He recorded a strikeout and then induced consecutive groundouts to second.

Since July 9, over their last 40 games, TinCaps pitchers have combined for the lowest ERA among all 30 High-A teams at 3.42. The club is 22-18 over this stretch, after playing eight games below .500 with a 5.26 ERA over their first 56 games of the season. Sunday’s performance followed holding the Whitecaps to just one run on both Friday and Saturday nights.

Fort Wayne is off Monday before starting a six-game homestand at Parkview Field on Tuesday against the Cincinnati Reds-affiliated Dayton Dragons.

Next Game: Tuesday, Aug. 24 vs. Dayton (7:05 p.m.)

·         Fort Wayne Probable Starter: RHP Carlos Guarate (No. 15 Padres prospect)

·         West Michigan Probable Starter: RHP Carson Spiers

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