The TinCaps scored four runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to come back and clinch a four-game series sweep of the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds) with a 5-4 win at Parkview Field on Thursday evening.
At 6-2, Fort Wayne is off to its best start to a season in a decade and tied for the best record in the Midwest League. The ‘Caps came from two or more runs down in three of the last four days to sweep a four-game series for the first time since August 2017.
Dayton (2-6) scored the game’s first run in the top of the third inning. Michael Siani walked to lead off the frame, and promptly came home to score when Miguel Hernandez lined a double over the head of Agustin Ruiz in left field. The Dragons would go on to load the bases with one out, butEfraín Contreras buckled down, striking out Bren Spillane and inducing a Shard Munroe groundout to extinguish the threat.
Both starters pitched five sterling innings. Contreras allowed just the one earned run in five innings while striking out eight – in eight games this season, TinCaps starters have struck out a combined 53 batters in 41.1 IP. Jhon De Jesus was even better for Dayton, allowing just one hit in five scoreless frames while fanning seven.
Dayton tacked on an insurance run in the top of the sixth inning. Munroe walked with one out and moved to third after Juan Martinez reached on a fielding error. Reniel Ozuna then brought home Munroe on an RBI groundout.
Fort Wayne rallied to slash the deficit in half in the bottom of the seventh. WithAugustin Ruiz at first base with two outs, Nick Gatewood hit a high-arching fly ball that landed at the base of the wall in left-center field, scoring Ruiz all the way from first. The Georgia native, Gatewood, finished the series with three RBIs.
Dayton scored two runs in the top of the eighth to pad their lead. Juan Martinez (RBI double) and Claudio Finol (RBI single) drove home the runs. The Dragons utilized four hits (including two infield singles) to score the pair of runs in the eighth.
The TinCaps knockout punch came in the eighth, scoring four runs on three hits and two walks to complete the comeback. First,Jawuan Harris smacked a one-out triple that one-hopped the left-center field wall,Tucupita Marcano walked, and Grant Little lined a sharp single into center field to score Harris. Then, Ruiz walked to load the bases, and a wild pitch scored Marcano from third. With Ruiz now at third and Little at second,Luis Almanzar hit a hard ground ball that glanced off the diving glove of the third baseman to score Ruiz and Little. Almanzar, a 19-year-old native of the Dominican Republic, leads the Midwest League with 11 runs driven in this season.
Henry Henry picked up the save in the top of the ninth in dramatic fashion after the Dragons loaded the bases with one out. Henry induced a groundball that got the second out and a fly out to right field to secure the victory. Dayton stranded 13 runners on basein the loss.
– Friday, April 12 @ Bowling Green (7:35 p.m.)
– TinCaps Probable Starter: LHP Joey Cantillo
– Hot Rods Probable Starter:LHP Michael Plassmeyer
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