Midland, MI - With just three hits and no runs to show for their evening, the TinCaps headed into the ninth inning Friday night trailing the Great Lakes Loons, 2-0. But the Fort Wayne offense erupted for six unanswered runs in the game's final frame, and the TinCaps defeated the Loons, 6-2, improving to 2-0 to begin the season.
Mallex Smith, Maxx Tissenbaum and Jeremy Baltz each hit singles to begin the ninth inning against Great Lakes (0-2) reliever Daniel Carela (0-1), with Baltz driving home Smith from second base, cutting a 2-0 Loons lead to 2-1. Gabriel Quintana followed with a ground ball to short, which Corey Seager fired home. Tissenbaum, racing home from third, avoided the tag from catcher Jose Capellan, tying the game at two. Carela was removed, with Great Lakes turning to Sawil Gonzalez, who fared no better. He walked Luis Tejada, which set up a Brian Adams sacrifice fly, putting Fort Wayne in front, 3-2. Alberth Martinez followed with two-run triple to center and Stephen Carmon tallied a run on a sacrifice fly, completing the comeback.
During the middle stages of the contest, Loons pitching retired ten straight Fort Wayne (2-0) hitters on a frigid night where temperatures began in the 40's and sunk to the 30's for most of the game.
TinCaps starter Max Fried, making his full-season debut, worked four innings, allowing one hit, one earned run, walking four and striking out five. He encountered trouble during a seven-batter first inning, but faced little resistance for the remainder of his outing. Ruben Mejia fired three innings of relief, allowing just an unearned run in the sixth on a two-out error by Carmon. Genison Reyes (1-0) was credited with the win with a 1-2-3 eighth inning, and Matthew Shepherd pitched a perfect ninth to complete the victory in which Great Lakes was limited to just two hits.
Game three of the four-game series is scheduled for Saturday evening at 6:05 p.m. The scheduled starters are Justin Hancock for Fort Wayne and Ralston Cash for Great Lakes. The game can be heard on 1380 AM in Fort Wayne and online at TheFanFortWayne.com.