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The Journal Gazette

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Aaron Leasher of the TinCaps shuts down Bowling Green from scoring again in the third inning Sunday afternoon at Parkview Field.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Robbie Podorsky of the TinCaps slides into home during the third inning before Bowling Green has a chance to field the ball home at Parkview Field Sunday afternoon.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Robbie Podorsky of the TinCaps dives back to first base before Devin Davis of Bowling Green has a chance to tag him out during the third inning at Parkview Field Sunday afternoon.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Jeisson Rosario of the TinCaps attempts to slide into a centerfield hit from Bowling Green during the fourth inning at Parkview Field Sunday afternoon.

  • Brett Luke | The Journal Gazette Jack Suwinski meets celebrating teammates after hitting a homerun in the third inning against Bowling Green Sunday afternoon at Parkview Field.

Sunday, July 08, 2018 8:19 pm

TinCaps fall to Bowling Green, 4-3, for third straight loss

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

How it Happened

The winning run came across for Bowling Green (59-28, 12-6) in the ninth inning. Catcher Ronaldo Hernandez had not been retired all day when he stepped to the plate and Travis Radke was unable to do so, either. Hernandez unloaded on a 1-0 pitch, sending it over the wall in left-center for a 4-3 lead. The ball traveled 410 feet and left Hernandez's bat at 107 mph for his 14th homer of the season.

For the third straight game, the Hot Rods jumped out to an early lead. Fort Wayne (43-44, 11-7) starter Aaron Leasher had decent stuff in the first inning, striking out two, including Midwest League batting leader Taylor Walls, but second baseman Vidal Brujan put together a rally by himself. The leadoff hitter started the inning with a bloop single to right and then stole both second and third easily during consecutive batters. With Moises Gomez at the plate and two outs, Leasher unleashed a wild pitch and Brujan raced home for a 1-0 lead.

The second inning was even less kind to Leasher, as the Hot Rods hit four balls that left their bats at at least 95 mph, including a 109-mph single from Hernandez. The big blow was a two-run double to deep right-center for Eleardo Cabrera, which drove in two runs and put Bowling Green in front 3-0. Cabrera also drove in a run in the first game of this series.

The TinCaps' comeback began in the third, with authority, courtesy of Jack Suwinski. The No. 9 hitter in the Fort Wayne order got a down-and-in curveball on an 0-1 pitch and dropped the barrel on it, launching it over the short portch in right field. Suwinski's fifth homer of the season traveled 368 feet and jumped off his bat at 101 mph.

Red-hot Robbie Podorsky followed Suwinski and laced a single to left field. Later in the inning, equally-hot Jeisson Rosario lined a ball into the right-field corner, scoring Podorsky and ending up on third with a triple. It was the second triple in as many games for Rosario, who doubled his season total in two games. The rally brought Fort Wayne back within 3-2.

Fort Wayne drew even in the fifth thanks again to Podorsky. First baseman Nick Feight led off the inning with a line drive down the right-field line. He stretched it into a double despite a close play at second and moved to third on a wild pitch. The Hot Rods moved their infield in to try to cut off the run at home, but Podorsky hit a hard ground ball back through the middle for a single, driving in Feight and knotting the score at 3.

Player of the Game: Ronaldo Hernandez

In addition to his go-ahead eighth-inning blast, Hernandez singled three times and walked. He finished the day 4 for 4, his second four-hit game of the season. His 14 home runs rank second in the Midwest League behind only Ryan Costello's 15 for Clinton.

Facts and Figures

TinCaps center-fielder Rosario had back-to-back three-hit performances in the first two games of this series and went 1 for 4 with a triple Sunday. ... Fort Wayne third baseman Kelvin Melean played his first game with the team after spending the first part of 2018 with High-A Lake Elsinore. Melean went 1 for 3 with a double and a walk. He spent all of 2017 with Low-A Tri-City. ... Padres 2018 fourth-round pick Dylan Coleman pitched 1 2/3 scoreless innings in his first appearance with Fort Wayne. He is the first 2018 draftee to play for the TinCaps. Coleman struck out one and hit 96 mph with his fastball. ... The win drops the TinCaps into second place in the Eastern Division. ... The Hot Rods were 30 games over .500 (58-28) entering today, the most in franchise history. ... Bowling Green's Vidal Brujan came into the game third in the league in stolen bases with 31, then stole second and third in the first inning, moving past Fort Wayne's Esteury Ruiz for second. ... Leasher pitched 4 1/3 innings and gave up a season-high 11 hits, but only three runs. ... The TinCaps went 1-2-3 in the first and neither team went in order again until the Fort Wayne half of the eighth. Bowling Green did not go 1-2-3 at all.

What's Next?

The finale of this four-game series will be at Parkview Field on Monday, with first pitch at 7:05 p.m. Fort Wayne will send Midwest League ERA leader Osvaldo Hernandez (6-3, 2.00 ERA) to the mound to try to avoid a sweep. The left-hander is coming off one of his most impressive starts of the season: six shutout innings with five strikeouts against Great Lakes. The Hot Rods will counter with 20-year-old right-hander Austin Franklin (5-4, 3.59 ERA), the Rays' No. 24 prospect, per Fangraphs.