In their series opener on Tuesday night, the Fort Wayne TinCaps fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps, 5-3, at LMCU Ballpark.
TinCaps Drop Back-and-Forth Series Opener
By Jack McMullen
Comstock, Michigan (August 17, 2021) – The Fort Wayne TinCaps fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers affiliate), 5-3, at LMCU Ballpark in their series opener on Tuesday night.
The Whitecaps (43-48) broke the scoring seal right away, with two runs in the bottom of the first. Right fielder Daniel Cabrera, the Tigers’ No. 4 prospect, delivered an RBI single to center. Left fielder Austin Murr, a rookie out of North Carolina State in his West Michigan debut, drove in the second on a sacrifice fly to TinCaps center fielder Reinaldo Ilarraza.
After the two runs in the first, TinCaps starter Noel Vela settled in. The 22-year-old lefty from Texas allowed just one hit over his next three frames, totaling four innings of two-run ball with three hits allowed and three strikeouts.
As strong as Vela was, West Michigan left-hander Adam Wolf was even better. The former fifth round pick of the Tigers out of the University of Louisville totaled five shutout innings, allowing just four hits. He struck out six and didn’t walk anyone.
The TinCaps (43-48) answered offensively as soon as Wolf left the game. Fort Wayne plated two runs to equalize in the sixth against the Whitecaps bullpen, with both coming on a single from shortstop Justin Lopez. On the infield single, an errant throw snuck by West Michigan first baseman Jake Holton’s glove, which allowed right fielder Tirso Ornelas, who doubled for the 26th time this year, to score from second. Ornleas leads High-A Central in doubles.
In the seventh, the TinCaps took a 3-2 lead after Ilarraza singled, stole his team-leading 29th base of the year, and scored on an RBI single from third baseman Chris Givin. However, West Michigan retaliated with two in the bottom half of the inning. After an RBI double from Whitecaps catcher Cooper Johnson, he later scored on a wild pitch to take a 4-3 lead.
The Whitecaps added insurance with two outs in the bottom of the eighth inning thanks to a triple from Cabrera, who then scored on another wild pitch.
The loss snapped a three-game winning streak for Fort Wayne. The TinCaps out-hit the Whitecaps, 10-7, with Givin and Ilarraza both recording two hits.
Next Game: Wednesday, August 18 at West Michigan (7:05 p.m.)
Fort Wayne Probable Starter: RHP Carlos Guarate (No. 15 Padres prospect)
West Michigan Probable Starter: RHP Austin Bergner