Midland, MI - The Fort Wayne TinCaps used an early burst of offense and a pristine pitching outing to earn a win in the opening game of the 2013 season. Outfielders Mallex Smith and Brian Adams each hit fourth-inning home runs, and starting pitcher Joe Ross provided five, shutout innings in a 5-2 victory over the Great Lakes Loons Thursday night.
Ross (1-0), who began the 2012 season with Fort Wayne, allowed one hit over his five innings, walking one and striking out four. Only four Loons batters reached base against the 19-year-old, who, in his first start last year, did not reach the end of the second inning, allowing seven runs in a loss against Lake County. Ross' Thursday counterpart, Great Lakes' Angel Sanchez (0-1), pitched four innings and allowed five earned runs while walking three and striking out one.
Fort Wayne (1-0) scored the first run of the game on a Smith RBI single in the top of the third, plating Brian Adams. Outfielder Jeremy Baltz doubled to left later in the third, plating Smith and giving the TinCaps a 2-0 advantage.
The remainder of the Fort Wayne runs came across in the fourth. Adams delivered a two-run blast over the wall in left, a towering shot that cleared the lawn seating at Dow Diamond. Two batters later, Smith hit a solo home run to right field, extending the lead to 5-0.
Great Lakes (0-1) scored its two runs in the ninth inning against TinCaps pitcher Erik Cabrera. The righthander, who pitched in five games with Fort Wayne in 2012, allowed a leadoff RBI single to Eric Smith and was responsible for the second run of the inning scoring on a wild pitch. Roman Madrid relieved Cabrera and picked up the final out of the game, earning his first save in the process.
The TinCaps and Loons face off for the second game of their four-game set on Friday night at 6:05. The scheduled starters are Max Fried for Fort Wayne and Lindsey Caughel for Great Lakes. The game can be heard on 1380-AM in Fort Wayne and online at TheFanFortWayne.com.