Fort Wayne, IN -- The TinCaps lost the opener of a three-game series against the West Michigan Whitecaps, 12-6, on Sunday evening at Parkview Field. Fort Wayne scored the first three runs of the game, and the last three, but in between West Michigan put 12 unanswered scores on the board.
Sunday started well for the TinCaps. Not long after Indiana's Senior U.S. Senator Dan Coats threw out the game's ceremonial first pitch, Fort Wayne scored three runs on four hits in the bottom of the first off West Michigan starter Endrys Briceno (4-4). Diego Goris plated Mallex Smith, who doubled, on a groundout to third base for the first run. After Dane Phillips singled, Chris Burke and Corey Adamson hit back-to-back RBI-doubles to extend the home team's lead to 3-0.
The game turned, however, in the top of the third inning. With one out and no one base, West Michigan's Jake Stewart hit a fly ball to center field that Brian Adams dropped. Starting pitcher Brian Rodriguez (1-2) then struck out Danry Vasquez for the second out. But after that, Jared Reaves doubled to drive in Stewart, Devon Travis was hit by a pitch, and Jeff Holm singled to score Reaves and Travis to tie the game, 3-3.
West Michigan (2-2, 35-39) jumped in front with two more runs against Rodriguez in the fifth. Rodriguez left the game after 4 1/3 innings, succumbing to five runs, though, only two were earned. The Whitecaps widened the gap against reliever Joe Church, who surrendered a three-run home run to Stewart that made it 8-3. The visitors tacked on an additional run in the sixth, and then three more runs in the eighth.
Fort Wayne (1-3, 44-29) didn't find an offensive answer again until the last of the eighth. Phillips hit a triple to drive home Maxx Tissenbaum and Diego Goris, the starting first baseman who ended up finishing the game for the TinCaps on the mound in the ninth. Phillips also scored on a sacrifice fly by Adamson that made it 12-6.
The TinCaps continue their three-game series with the Whitecaps at Parkview Field on Monday night at 7:05. All-Star Joe Ross is set to start for Fort Wayne against Jordan John for West Michigan. The game can be seen on XFINITY Channel 81 and heard on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.