The Journal Gazette
Saturday, June 05, 2021 1:00 am

TinCaps 4 Cedar Rapids 3

Sacrifice fly in 8th lifts TinCaps to 3rd straight

DYLAN SINN | The Journal Gazette

The TinCaps were just 1 for 15 with runners in scoring position Friday.

So, in the eighth, Fort Wayne pushed across the winning run without a hit.

Kelvin Melean drove a sacrifice fly to center field that brought pinch-runner Jawuan Harris in with the go-ahead tally in a 4-3 victory over the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Parkview Field in front of an announced crowd of 3,082.

The TinCaps (13-14) overcame a pair of deficits to win their third straight game, matching a seasonlong winning streak and clinching a split of the six-game series with the Kernels. 

“Those are the games we like to play in,” manager Anthony Contreras said of his team. “It's tight, the crowd's getting into it, everyone's feeling the energy in the stadium. That's what it's all about.”

Long-haired closer Carter Loewen worked a scoreless ninth to earn his league-leading fifth save and pumped his fist when he whiffed Gabe Snyder with a 96 mph fastball to complete the victory.

Tirso Ornelas started the game-winning eighth-inning rally for Fort Wayne with a walk, making it the sixth time in seven innings the hosts had gotten the leadoff runner on. Harris pinch ran for him and reached second on an Ethan Skender sacrifice bunt. 

The speedster then moved up 90 feet with a steal of third so perfectly-timed that there was no throw, setting up Melean's heroics.

“(Contreras) told me to get ready (between the sixth and the seventh) and I told him I was already ready,” Harris said of coming off the bench. “My mindset was to be ready to get a stolen bag, maybe two and then be hit in. I think we executed well and we were able to get that win late.”

The TinCaps trailed 2-0 early, but knotted the score with RBI from Adam Kerner and Justin Lopez. The Kernels (11-17) took the lead again with a bases-loaded walk in the sixth, but Luis Almanzar tripled in the bottom half and raced home with the tying run on a Reinaldo Ilarraza ground ball, scoring with a slide to the outside of the plate as the throw from the drawn-in infield came home.

Note: TinCaps outfielder Agustin Ruiz and infielder Justin Lopez were activated off the Suspended List prior to the game. Both were on the list because of their roles in Fort Wayne's altercation with the South Bend Cubs last week.

TinCaps vs. Cedar Rapids

When: 6:35 p.m. today

Where: Parkview Field

Pitchers: Gabe Mosser (TinCaps) vs. Andrew Cabezas (Kernels)

TV: Xfinity 81

Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM

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