News release from the TinCaps:
TinCaps Wallop Lugnuts, 17-6
(May 23, 2014) – The fireworks came early on Friday night at Parkview Field — in more ways than one. The TinCaps walloped the Lansing Lugnuts, 17-6, in front of 6,601 fans, who after the game were treated to a literal fireworks show. But there was no shortage of excitement during the game either, as Fort Wayne set a season high for runs scored. The game also saw both benches spill onto the field during a turbulent third inning.
On Star Wars Night, the TinCaps showcased plenty of force at the plate from the get-go. In fact, Fort Wayne (19-28) scored before even recording an out against Lansing (23-24) starter Matt Dermody. A Fernando Perez RBI-single put the TinCaps on the board and a two-run single from Adolfo Reina gave the home team a 3-0 lead at the end of one inning.
Although the Lugnuts put up a run in the top of the second, Dustin Peterson’s three-run home run in the bottom half extended Fort Wayne’s lead to 6-1. The longball was the third baseman’s fourth of the season and third in his last five games. Peterson, 19, now ranks second in the Midwest League in runs batted in with 33. He finished a triple shy of the cycle on a sunny and 70-degree night.
Lansing’s L.B. Dantzler answered with a three-run homer of his own in the top of the third as part of a four-run frame that cut the TinCaps edge to 6-5. Matters began to escalate when the first pitch thrown by Fort Wayne starter Erik Cabrera after the homer hit Justin Atkinson. Both benches promptly were issued warnings by home plate umpire John Mang.
The intensity of the game rose even more in the bottom of the third inning. With one out and Reina on at first base, Luis Tejada hit a run-scoring double off the wall in straightaway-center field that missed being a home run by a fraction. Improbably, the following batter, Chase Jensen, also came within inches of hitting a homer, but instead was a triple off the wall in left field to score Tejada and bump the TinCaps’ advantage to 8-5.
Things continued to go haywire in the third when Mallex Smith bunted back to the mound. Dermody exacerbated his issues by committing an error on his toss to the plate in an attempt to retire Jensen. The game took a turn for the worst when the ensuing batter, Peterson, was hit in the head by Dermody’s next pitch. At that moment, with Fort Wayne in front 10-5, both Dermody and Lansing manager John Tamargo Jr. were ejected from the game.
Roberto Espinosa replaced Dermody on the mound, but the TinCaps hits and Lugnuts miscues kept coming. When the bottom of the third inning finally came to an end, Fort Wayne had scored six runs on three hits, three Lansing errors, and a wild pitch. Coupled with the top of the third, the inning included 10 combined runs, six hits, four errors, two wild pitches, two hit batters, two ejections, and a clearing of the benches.
The game somewhat simmered after that, though, the TinCaps’ offense did not. Fort Wayne added one run in the fourth, fifth, and seventh, respectively, plus two more in the eighth. The team’s 17 runs were its most scored since April 20 of last year, also against Lansing. It was the sixth time this season the TinCaps cracked double digits in runs scored. Of Fort Wayne’s 16 hits, three game from each Smith, Peterson, Perez, Reina, and Tejada.
Perhaps overshadowed, Cabrera had the longest outing of his professional career — six innings. Despite the shaky third, the right-hander retired 10 consecutive batters after hitting Atkinson on his way to the win.
The TinCaps go for a three-game sweep of the Lugnuts on Saturday night. Payton Baskette is set to start the 7:05 p.m. game against Brad Allen. The game can be heard on The Fan 1380 and seen on XFINITY Channel 81.