EASTLAKE, OH- The Fort Wayne Tincaps (24-15) scored two runs in the seventh inning and withheld a rally by the Lake County Captains (13-25) to take game one of the series on Friday night in front of 5,847 fans by a final score of 4-3.
Right-hander Luis Dejesus started his eighth game of the year for the Captains as right-hander Zach Elfin, who was making his seventh start for the Tincaps, opposed him.
The Captains took a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Shortstop Dorssys Paulino reached on a fielder’s choice that erased left fielder LeVon Washington’s leadoff walk. Centerfielder Logan Vick doubled to left field to put two runners on with only one out. Catcher Jeremy Lucas lined a double down the right field line to score both runners.
Fort Wayne pulled within a run in the second inning thanks to a bases-loaded groundout by right fielder Brian Adams.
The Tincaps scored another run in the third inning. Centerfielder Mallex Smith led off with a single, he stole second base and a wild pitch moved him to third base. Designated hitter Jeremy Baltz grounded out to second base, bringing in Smith to tie the game.
Elfin came out of the game after five innings, allowing two runs on five hits for a no-decision. He walked two and he fanned a season high six batters. Right-hander Matthew Shepherd entered for the sixth inning.
Fort Wayne took the lead and ended Dejesus’s night in the seventh inning. First baseman Luis Tejeda led off with a double to left field and left fielder Corey Adamson followed with a walk. Following a bunt popout, shortstop Stephen Carmon tripled down the right-field line to plate two runners.
Manager Scooter Tucker made the call to the bullpen, replacing Dejesus with another Luis, bringing in Luis Morel. Dejesus threw a season-high six and one third innings. He surrendered four runs on six hits. He walked three and struck out only one batter in his fourth loss of the year.
“He pitched well; it was one real base hit that hurt him tonight,” Tucker said about DeJesus’ start.
The Captains cut the lead to 4-3 in the bottom of the eighth. Shortstop Dorssys Paulino doubled off the third baseman’s glove to lead off the inning. A groundout moved Paulino to third base. Lucas singled home Paulino for his third RBI of the night. Lake County had two runners on with one out but Shepherd instigated a rally-ending double play.
Fort Wayne could not muster a run in the top of the ninth as Morel walked the bases loaded. Morel got Baltz to swing and miss at a third strike to end the inning. Morel threw two and two thirds scoreless innings of relief without allowing a hit. He walked four and struck out five batters.
Chris Nunn ended the game on an unassisted double play from third baseman Leonardo Castillo to pick up his third save of the year.
Shepherd picked up his third win after allowing one run on two hits in three innings of relief.
Lucas led the team with two hits and three RBI’s. Paulino also added two hits.
“He had a wonderful night at the plate,” Tucker said about Lucas’ night at the plate. “He has been swinging the bat well as of late, which is why we have him in the middle of the lineup.”
Despite the loss, Tucker was upbeat on the way his team performed.
“I was very pleased with the game tonight,” he said. “These are games that you want to be in but you want to be on the winning side. There were no errors and it was a nice, clean game for these guys.”
The Captains and Tincaps will resume their four game series with a game on Saturday night. Lake County will send LHP Ryan Merritt (1-3, 3.50 ERA) to the mound to face RHP Ruben Mejia (2-3, 2.70 ERA) for Fort Wayne. First pitch is set for 6:30 PM from Classic Park with fireworks to follow.