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The Journal Gazette

Monday, June 11, 2018 10:30 pm

TinCaps fall to Lugnuts 4-2, split series

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

TinCaps starter Mason Thompson started the sixth inning, but gave up a leadoff single and then walked Chavez Young to put two on with nobody out before manager Anthony Contreras made a change. Reliever Ben Sheckler surrendered an RBI single to Samad Taylor. A second run scored when Lansing executed a perfect squeeze bunt, putting the visitors ahead 2-0. 

Before the game, I wrote that both starting pitchers have had up-and-down seasons to this point. Both were up tonight. The TinCaps' Thompson and the Lugnuts' Colton Laws each retired the first 11 hitters they faced and no one reached base from either side until Lansing's Chavez Young lofted a soft single to left with two outs in the top of the fourth.

Thompson was especially effective, putting together one of his best starts of the season. The big right-hander hit 95 mph with his fastball – he's been 90-92 mph most of this season – and dropped in a 72-74 mph curveball on several occasions. Even more impressively, he had pinpoint command, painting fastballs on the corners and getting swinging strikes with a couple of disappearing sliders. He retired the first 11 hitters he faced and struck out three of them. 

Meanwhile Laws, who was facing a TinCaps team that had collected a season-high 19 hits Sunday, stymied his opponent, giving up his first hit in the fourth, but working his way out of a jam in that inning and retiring the side in order in the fifth, including a strikeout of Jalen Washington on a hard-breaking slider that sent Washington to a knee as he swung and missed.

The TinCaps scored their only runs with a ninth inning rally. Esteury Ruiz got the uprising started with a bunt single and another single and a walk loaded the bases. Luis Almanzar brought in one run with a sacrifice fly, and Nick Feight grounded a single to right to bring the winning run to the plate, but Jalen Washington grounded to short to end the threat and the game.

Player of the Game: Colton Laws

The Lugnuts starter held the TinCaps in check for five scoreless innings, giving up just two hits and striking out two. He retired the side in order in four of his five innings and did not walk a batter for the fourth consecutive start. He has only walked three hitters in 37 1/3 innings this season. The right-hander got the win to improve to 3-2 this season.

Facts and figures

Fort Wayne held the Lugnuts scoreless for 14 consecutive innings before Lansing scored in the sixth inning. ... The TinCaps held Lansing hitless into the fourth inning for the third consecutive game. ... Thompson went five innings, giving up two runs on three hits. He struck out three and walked two. ... Luis Campusano started at first base for the first time season. He's played catcher and designated hitter this season, but he was a first baseman until his junior season in high school (two years ago). ... Jeisson Rosario came in sixth in the league in on-base percentage at .401 with three straight multi-hit games, but went 0 for 4. ... Samad Taylor went 3 for 4 with a double and two RBI. ... The announced crowd was 5,455. ... Former IPFW right-hander Evan Miller gave up two runs in the eighth, the second straight appearance he's given up runs after eight straight scoreless outings. He pitched a 1-2-3 ninth. ... With the win, the Lugnuts clinch a top-two finish in the Eastern Division's first-half standings.

What's next?

After completing this series against the second-place team in the Eastern Division, the TinCaps will travel to Bowling Green to take on the first-place team in the division, the Bowling Green Hot Rods. They'll play four games against the Hot Rods, including finishing a game that was suspended May 31 at Parkview Field.