COMSTOCK PARK, MI - Even Mother Nature could not slow down the West Michigan Whitecaps on Monday afternoon.
Following a two-hour and 41-minute pre-game rain delay, the Whitecaps exploded for 16 hits - seven of which went for extra bases - in an 11-4 victory over the Fort Wayne TinCaps at Fifth Third Ballpark.
West Michigan (3-2) fell behind 3-0 by the middle of the second inning, but outscored Fort Wayne (3-2) by an 11-1 margin the rest of the way on a cool, damp afternoon at the ballpark.
Every Whitecaps' hitter reached base, eight of the nine regulars hit safely, and six different batters recorded multi-hit games. Danry Vasquez and Devon Travis had three hits apiece while Jeff Holm went 2-for-5 with a homer and three RBI. Mike Hernandez was 2-for-4 with a pair of triples and 19-year-old prospect Austin Schotts picked up his first two hits of the season.
The 'Caps fell behind early after giving up three runs in the top of the second, but Mario Martinez slugged a two-run double in the bottom of the inning and later scored on Schotts's first Midwest League hit to even the score at 3-3.
West Michigan fell behind 4-3 in the top of the third before rallying to score the final eight runs of the game.
Holm's two-run homer in the bottom of the third put the Whitecaps in front for the first time, and moments later Hernandez tripled and scored to make it 6-4. One inning later, Vasquez started a rally with a two-out double and Travis and Holm contributed run-scoring singles to extend the lead to 8-4.
Hernandez tripled and scored again in the seventh. The 'Caps added two more runs during a four-hit ninth-inning to cap the scoring and cement the 11-4 victory.
The piggypack pitching duo of Edgar De La Rosa and Yorfrank Lopez handled the rest.
De La Rosa battled through the first four innings, allowing four runs - two earned - on five hits but finishing strong and leaving with the lead. Lopez (1-0) added four shutout frames of two-hit relief to earn the win, while Jose Valdez worked a scoreless ninth inning in a non-save situation.
Fort Wayne's Erik Cabrera (0-1) was battered for eight runs on eight hits over 3.2 innings in the loss.
The Whitecaps continue their season-opening seven-game homestand on Tuesday with a 12:00 p.m. first pitch against the Fort Wayne TinCaps at Fifth Third Ballpark. RHP Endrys Briceno (0-0, 4.91) is scheduled to take the hill for West Michigan against RHP Walker Weickel (N/A) for Fort Wayne. Fans bringing a worship or community bulletin to the ballpark will be offered half-price box or reserved seats on a JQ99 FM All Faith's Day. Group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
Click here to view the box score.