The TinCaps put together a furious rally in the late innings against Lake County on Wednesday night but were unable to snap a losing streak that reached a season-high seven games.
Trailing by three entering the ninth inning, the TinCaps plated a run on an Agustin Ruiz single and loaded the bases with one out, but Justin Lopez flew out to deep left and Seamus Curran struck out, sending the Captains to a 7-6 victory in front of an announced crowd of 2,459 at Parkview Field.
The TinCaps are a season-high nine games below .500 at 23-32 and are 4-10 against Lake County (31-25) this season.
Fort Wayne trailed 7-0 after 21/2 innings, but chipped away the rest of the night, getting the comeback started when Curran laced an RBI single to right in the fourth.
In the sixth, Lopez ripped a 105 mph screaming line drive barely over the high wall in right field for a two-run homer, his sixth long ball of the season and third since June 24.
Fort Wayne added a run in the seventh when Jawuan Harris scored on a wild pitch after reaching on a bunt single, but the hosts also left two on in the eighth and two more in the ninth.
The TinCaps were 2 for 11 with runners in scoring position and are 2 for 20 in such situations in this series.
The Parkview Field crowd had barely settled in before Fort Wayne fell behind. On the very first pitch of the game, Lake County's Will Brennan launched a get-me-over fastball from Fort Wayne starter Edwuin Bencomo 422 feet to straightaway right field for a home run and a 1-0 lead.
Bencomo gave up two extra-base hits in his first three pitches, walked three straight to start the second inning and by the time he departed after two frames, the TinCaps trailed 6-0, digging Fort Wayne into a hole out of which it was unable to climb.
Bencomo got the start in place of Fort Wayne right-hander Anderson Espinoza, the TinCaps' top prospect. Manager Anthony Contreras told The Journal Gazette on Tuesday that Espinoza has been suspended for 10 games, effective Tuesday, because umpires believe they found a foreign substance in the hurler's glove in his previous start.
Espinoza was ejected from that start after the umpires checked his glove. He will be eligible to pitch again July 17 at West Michigan.
TinCaps reliever Erik Sabrowski was scheduled to get his first pro start, but the plan changed a few hours before the game and Sabrowski got a “piggyback” appearance instead, pitching four innings in relief of Bencomo.
The tall left-hander gave up a run in the third inning, snapping a string of 81/3 consecutive scoreless innings over four appearances, but he did not give up anything else, eventually striking out five and retiring nine of the final 10 hitters he faced with an error sprinkled in. He's whiffed 26 in 14 innings with Fort Wayne.
vs. Lake County
When: 7:05 p.m. today
Where: Parkview Field
Pitchers: LHP Ethan Elliott (TinCaps) vs. RHP Kevin Coulter (Captains)
TV: Xfinity 81
Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM