LANSING, Mich. – The Fort Wayne TinCaps triumphed over the Lansing Lugnuts (Oakland Athletics affiliate), 10-3, on Tuesday evening at Jackson Field in Lansing, Michigan. Five RBIs from Brandon Valenzuela and three extra-base hits from Joshua Mears led the way.
The TinCaps’ bats wasted no time, scoring in the first inning. Corey Rosier was hit by a pitch in the game’s first plate appearance. Three batters later, Valenzuela smashed a ball to center field and came all the way around to score for an inside-the-park home run. The catcher became the first Fort Wayne batter to hit an inside-the-parker since Jeisson Rosario hit one at Parkview Field on April 9, 2018, also against Lansing.
The TinCaps continued to pepper extra-base hits all over Jackson Field. Mears made his first impact with a double off the left-field wall in the top of the third that had an exit velocity of 116 miles per hour.
Fort Wayne hit back-to-back-to-back doubles in sixth inning to extend its lead. Robert Hassell III’s double to center field set up a Mears double, once again to left field, that gave the right fielder his first RBI on the night. Valenzuela capped it off with a double to right field, punching in Mears for his third RBI. The ‘Caps led 4-1 after 5 and ½ innings.
After Lansing charged back with two runs in the bottom half of the sixth, Mears once again crushed a ball in the eighth. This time it left the park for a solo home run that made the score 5-3. The long-ball was Mears’ team-leading third home run of the season.
The ’Caps batted around and added five more insurance runs in the top of ninth. Valenzuela capitalized on the opportunity to get more RBIs, driving in two runs on a single to center field. Rosier, Hassell and Justin Lopez also knocked in runners in the final frame.
While the bats were resting, starter Adam Smith went nearly perfect in his three innings of work. One of the lone blemishes Smith had was a walk to Lansing outfielder Lawrence Butler in home-half of the first. The right-hander immediately made up for it, inducing a ground ball that shortstop Jarryd Dale converted into a 6-4-3 double play. Smith ended the day with a pair of strikeouts, the lone walk to Butler, and one hit allowed.
Lefty reliever Ryan Och earned the save despite the lopsided score. Och entered in the bottom of the eighth inning with the on-deck hitter representing the tying run. The southpaw struck out four in two scoreless innings.
Next Game: Wednesday, April 20 @ Lansing Lugnuts (6:05 p.m.)
- Fort Wayne Probable Starter: LHP Robert Gasser (No. 9 Padres prospect)
- Lansing Probable Starter: RHP Joey Estes (No. 17 A’s prospect)