The TinCaps' playoff hopes took a hit Thursday as they fell to the Lake County Captains 12-4 in front of a Parkview Field crowd of 8,321.
The loss is particularly damaging as West Michigan, the team chasing them for the final playoff spot, defeated Dayton on Thursday and is now tied with the TinCaps for the final playoff spot. Fort Wayne does own the head-to-head tiebreaker with West Michigan, but with four games remaining, it's crunch time.
Lake County (27-38 second half, 56-79) broke open a tie game with a five-run, fourth inning.
Lake County's Elvis Perez had an RBI double, which brought in Mitch Reeves for the 2-1 lead. After Joey Cantillo's TinCap's pitching debut was done, in entered reliever Fred Schlichtholz with the bases loaded. Lake County's Will Benson hit a grand slam to right, pushing the lead to 6-1.
The TinCaps (31-34, 63-71) did respond in the bottom of the fourth. With the bases loaded, Lake County pitcher Francsico Perez walked Jalen Washington, bringing home Esteury Ruiz. Next up, Aldemar Burgos hit a sacrifice fly to bring in Nick Feight. Reliever Jonathan Teaney came in, but Owen Miller also walked scoring Michael Cantu. Fort Wayne scored three runs on two hits in the inning, cutting the lead to 6-4.
Three RBI singles in the top of the sixth pushed the lead to 9-4 for the Captains. TinCaps reliever Danny Sexton gave up three hits and a run in the seventh, extending the lead 10-4. The Captains score two more runs in the ninth to make it 12-4.
The Captains got things started in the top of the second when Cantillo walked Jesse Berardi. Two stolen bases and a Perez sacrifice fly scored Berardi.
TinCaps lead-off hitters got on base in the first four at bats, but it wasn't until the bottom of the third they could make anything out of it. Aldemar Burgos singled to left, and advanced to third on a wild pitch and stolen base. A Jack Suwinski RBI single brought home Burgos to tie the game.
The TinCaps return to Parkview tomorrow for the final game of the three-game series with the Captains, and the final regular season home game. Right-handed pitcher Mason Thompson is expected to pitch. Thompson (6-7) has given up 57 runs on 89 hits in 89 and 1/2 innings. Jean Carlos Meija is scheduled to pitch for the Captains.
vs. Lake County
Where: Parkview Field
When: 7:05 p.m. today
Pitchers: RHP Mason Thompson (TinCaps) vs.RHP Jean Carlos Mejia (Captains)
TV: Xfinity 81