Big 8th Inning Dooms TinCaps in 5-2 Loss

Credit: Journal Gazette

Fort Wayne, Indiana.

After a four-game road trip to play the Great Lakes Loons, the TinCaps returned to Parkview Field Thursday night. Following a nine-batter eighth inning, the visiting Bowling Green Hot Rods held on for the 5-2 victory, snapping the TinCaps’ five-game winning streak.

The top of the eighth started with Adrian Rondon hitting a routine grounder to Fernando Tatis Jr., but the shortstop erred on the throw, launching the ball above first baseman G.K. Young and into the protective netting above the TinCaps’ dugout. Rondon was awarded second base, and after a fly-out to left field, the rally went to full steam.

The Hot Rods hit four singles in a row off reliever Jim McDade to take the lead in the game. Luis Rengifo started the scoring with his third hit of the night, bringing in Rondon. Josh Lowe followed with a blooper to left field that tied the game. Rengifo was running with the pitch and made it to third base, then scored on Garrett Whitley’s single. After a sacrifice fly to move Lowe to third, Rene Pinto hit a long double to center that cleared the bases and increased the lead to 5-2. Manager Anthony Contreras then brought in Hansel Rodriguez, who secured the third out of the inning, but the damage was done.

The lone bright spot for the TinCaps’ offense came in the bottom of the second, when Tyler Selesky and Buddy Reed hit back-to-back homers off Hot Rods’ starter Kenny Rosenberg. The two round-trippers gave the TinCaps an early lead, and Selesky and Reed tied and broke, respectively, the TinCaps’ team record for home runs in a season. Reed’s was the team’s 103rd home run in 2017.

The TinCaps had other chances, but could not convert men in scoring position to runs scored. In the bottom of the fourth, Young led off with a walk and moved to third on Hudson Potts’ double. With runners at second and third and no outs, Rosenberg stepped up his game, striking out two of the next three batters and robbing Buddy Reed by nabbing a scorching liner hit back up the middle.

Young and Potts both reached based again in the sixth with consecutive singles, and after a walk to Reed, the bases were loaded with two outs. Jack Suwinski hit a deep fly ball that was fading away from left-fielder Whitley, but he made a diving catch near the wall to end the inning.

Beyond Rosenberg and Whitley, the Hot Rods had several flashes of defensive brilliance. Second baseman Miles Mastrobuoni fielded a grounder behind second base and still threw out A.J. Kennedy, and the Hot Rods twice converted inning-ending double plays.

The TinCaps had one more scoring opportunity in the eighth, as Jorge Oña led off with a single. Two batters later, Potts had his third hit of the night, putting runners on first and second. Oña advanced to third on a wild pitch, but both Selesky and Reed struck out to end the inning.

TinCaps’ starter Reggie Lawson had a solid outing. He pitched five innings, allowing only three hits and no runs. He struck out seven. In his first outing for the TinCaps, reliever Dalton Erb got one inning of work, giving up a hit but also striking out one.

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Ken A. Bugajski on EmailKen A. Bugajski on Twitter
Ken A. Bugajski
Ken A. Bugajski lives and works in Fort Wayne, Indiana. An English professor by trade, he spends many summer nights with his wife and daughter at Parkview Field, home of the TinCaps.

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