The losing streak is over.
After seven straight defeats, the TinCaps eked out a win over visiting Lake County on Thursday night at Parkview Field, triumphing 5-4 in front of an announced crowd of 4,150 behind a big game for outfielder Tirso Ornelas and an excellent start from ace Ethan Elliott.
The TinCaps (24-32) won for just the fifth time in 15 tries against the Captains and they celebrated after the game.
“It's getting pretty rowdy in there right now,” outfielder Grant Little said of the postgame scene in the clubhouse. “It's always fun to win, but especially when you've had a tough little stretch, to finally be able to pull one out, the guys are going to be a little more excited.
“We're just thankful to be able to win a baseball game.”
To break their longest losing streak of the season, Fort Wayne needed a little luck. The break it had been looking for came in the seventh inning. With the score deadlocked at 4, Chris Givin started the inning with his fifth walk in three games with Fort Wayne and Ornelas followed with a single. After a strikeout, Seamus Curran hit a tailor-made double-play ball to short, but the relay throw from Captains second baseman Raynel Delgado was wild up the first-base line and Givin raced in to score the eventual winning run.
It was a reversal from a span in which the TinCaps have let some games slip away late because of mistakes or bad luck.
“Over this past week, we've played well enough to win a bunch of games and things just haven't clicked,” said Little, who was in the lineup for the first time since June 26 and doubled twice and scored a run. “We got some bad breaks, unfortunate stuff that happened, so for something to finally go our way, hopefully we can build on that momentum.”
The TinCaps took the lead twice, once in the third on an RBI groundout from Givin that made it 2-1 and again in the sixth when a wild pitch scored a run and Reinaldo Ilarraza drove in another with a sacrifice fly to put Fort Wayne ahead 4-2, but Lake County tied the game both times.
After giving up a run on a pair of hits in the first inning – the sixth time in nine games on this homestand that Fort Wayne has surrendered at least one run in the top of the first – Elliott settled in and eventually worked six innings, giving up only two runs on five hits while striking out four.
The left-hander turned in his first quality start since June 15 and moved into sole possession of third place in High-A Central in strikeouts with 71 in 58 innings.
Ornelas erased Lake County's 1-0 lead in the bottom of the first with a 398-foot home run to right-center, his first long ball since April 13, 2019. He finished the night 3 for 3 with a walk.
Austin Smith pitched a scoreless eighth to preserve the one-run Fort Wayne lead, and Jose Geraldo shut the door in the ninth for his fourth save despite putting two runners on.
TinCaps vs. Lake County
When: 7:05 p.m. today
Where: Parkview Field
Pitchers: RHP Matt Waldron (TinCaps) vs. RHP Tanner Burns (Captains)
TV: Xfinity 81
Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM