The Fort Wayne TinCaps trounced the Lansing Lugnuts (Toronto Blue Jays affiliate), 12-4, on Thursday night at Cooley Law School Stadium. Fort Wayne led by as many as 10 runs on a night when the offense had 13 hits (four extra-base hits), four walks, and a hit by pitch, while the defense made some highlight plays and the pitching was solid.
Fort Wayne (22-30, 55-65) built a 5-0 lead with a run in the second inning and four in the fourth. The ‘Caps benefitted from four Lugnuts errors, including one in the second and a pair in the fourth.
TinCaps starter Efraín Contreras yielded a pair of runs in the fifth, but was otherwise strong in his five innings. The 19-year-old from Mexico had three strikeouts to one walk, while scattering five hits—four singles and a double.
Lansing (27-24, 59-61) nearly tied the game in the second when Jake Brodt doubled with Rafael Lantigua at first base. However, right fielder Dwanya Williams-Sutton collected the ball on the warning track and threw it to first baseman Lee Solomon, who relayed the ball to catcher Blake Hunt, who applied a tag on Lantigua before he touched home.
In the home third inning, third baseman Ethan Skender made a diving stop on a ball hit hard on the ground by D.J. Neal. Reminiscent of San Diego’s Manny Machado, Skender threw to first from foul territory while Solomon stretched to receive the ball in time for the out, despite Neal’s prolific speed. (He played wide receiver on the University of South Carolina’s football team.)
Offensively, the TinCaps responded to the Lugnuts’ runs in the fifth with a pair immediately in the top of the sixth as left fielder Tyler Benson banged an RBI double and Solomon, who had a fourth-inning sacrifice fly, added a run-scoring single.
Fort Wayne scored thrice in the eighth. The exclamation point came in the ninth when shortstop Justin Lopez hit a two-run homer to right field. The 19-year-old leads the team with 11 homers on the season. (Michael Curry is second with seven.
All nine in the starting lineup had at least one hit. Hunt paced the team with three hits, counting a triple to spark the fourth.
Following Contreras, Henry Henry pitched three scoreless innings of relief. Austin Smith conceded a pair of runs in the ninth with two outs.
The TinCaps return to action on Friday, Aug. 16th against Lansing at 7:05 P.M.
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