FORT WAYNE, IN- The Fort Wayne Tincaps (5-3) used some early offense and solid pitching to drop the Lake County Captains (1-6) to their sixth straight loss by a final score of 9-1 on Friday night.
The starting pitcher matchup featured two left-handed prospects from previous drafts. Max Fried (1-0, 1.00 ERA), the first round draft pick of the Padres in 2012, made his second start of the season for the Tincaps and was opposed by Ryan Merritt (0-2, 2.00 ERA) of the Captains, a 16th round pick by the Indians in the 2011 draft.
Lake County had an opportunity to take an early lead but could not produce a run. Centerfielder Luigi Rodriguez walked to open the game, but was caught stealing second base. The next batter, second baseman Robel Garcia, lined a triple to center field, but Fried worked out of the jam with a strikeout and a groundout, leaving Garcia at third.
Shortstop Maxx Tissenbaum walked with one out in the bottom of the first inning. Garcia made a fielding error on a force attempt, moving Tissenbaum to third base, and then Merritt committed a balk bringing home Tissenbaum for a Fort Wayne 1-0 lead.
Fort Wayne added three more runs in the third inning. Third baseman Gabriel Quintana lined a one out double to center field, first baseman Luis Tejada reached on a groundball to the pitcher, and shortstop Erik Gonzalez made a throwing error on a force attempt loading the bases with one out. Right fielder Corey Adamson plated two runs with a single to centerfield and catcher Rodney Daal grounded out to short to move the lead to 4-0.
Merritt came out of the game after the fourth inning giving way to righty reliever Jack Wagoner. Merritt pitched four innings and took the loss, allowing only one earned run (four runs) on five hits. He walked two and struck out three.
Fried’s night was finished after five shutout innings of work and allowed three hits and two walks and struck out eight batters on the night to pick up the win.
Fort Wayne blew the game open with a five run sixth inning off reliever Francisco Valera. Adamson singled to open the frame and stole second base before Daal reached on a fielding error by Gonzalez. Centerfielder Mallex Smith singled home Adamson for a 5-0 lead. A Valera wild pitch moved both runners into scoring position and then Tissenbaum hit a sacrifice fly to left fielder Jorge Martinez, but Martinez made a fielding error bringing home Daal. The next batter, designated hitter Jeremy Baltz launched a three run homerun to center field for his only hit of the night. Valera finished the sixth inning giving up five runs (one earned) on three hits.
Lake County broke a 17 inning scoreless streak with a run in the ninth inning off of reliever Roman Madrid. Designated hitter Eric Haase reached on a fielding error by the third baseman and first baseman Nellie Rodriguez followed with a walk. Following a double play, Gonzalez drove in Haase with an RBI single, his second RBI of the season.
Wagoner, Louis Head and Felix Sterling all pitched scoreless innings in relief for the Captains.
Lake County had only four base hits on the night with Garcia, Gonzalez, catcher Martin Cervenka and right fielder Logan Vick each having one hit.
Fort Wayne and Lake County will resume their four game series on Saturday night. Right-hander Mitch Brown (0-1, 54.00 ERA) will look to rebound from his last outing as he will face Ohio native right-hander Justin Hancock (1-0, 0.00 ERA) for the Tincaps. First pitch is scheduled for 5:05 PM.