FORT WAYNE, IND. -- In front of 6,576 fans, the TinCaps beat the South Bend Silver Hawks, 8-4, on a sunny Saturday evening at Parkview Field to even their three-game series at one game apiece. Led by 18-year-old first baseman Jake Bauers, who produced his third consecutive three-hit game, Fort Wayne came out of the gates strong, raced to an 8-0 lead, and coasted through the home stretch.
TinCaps starter Adrian De Horta retired the first six batters he faced and then received some offensive support in the home second inning. Bauers drove in the game's first run with an RBI-single to score third baseman Dustin Peterson, who began the frame with a double off Silver Hawks starter Aaron Blair (1-2). In his first at-bat as a TinCap, catcher Adolfo Reina followed with a run-scoring single as well, plating DH Dane Phillips to make it 2-0. The TinCaps extended their lead to 3-0 with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Chase Jensen -- good for the shortstop's first RBI with the team. Reina and Jensen just joined Fort Wayne's roster Thursday.
The first home run of Bauers' brief TinCaps career propelled the home team's lead to 5-0 in the third inning. Bauers finished the night 3-for-3 with a walk, two runs, and three runs batted in. In five games at Parkview Field during this homestand, the seventh round draft pick of the Padres in 2013 has 12 hits in 19 at-bats (.632 average) with 10 RBI.
"Just swingin' it, man," Bauers said after the win. "You gotta stay back, know what's coming, and have confidence in your skills. It felt good to hit it in front of all those fans"
The success of Bauers and the TinCaps, who bolstered their lead with a three-run fifth, was even more impressive considering who it came against. Blair, a first round selection of the Diamondbacks last June, entered the game with a 2.56 ERA in five starts. He had struck out a Midwest League-high 43 batters coming in, but fanned only one in four frames Saturday before being chased out of the game. Blair was charged with eight runs (seven earned) on eight hits and four walks.
"He was elevating his fastball," Bauers said of Blair. "And we really jumped on it and did a good job of being aggressive."
Justin Livengood (1-1) received credit for the win out of the TinCaps' bullpen. The righty tossed two no-hit innings of relief after De Horta went the first 4 1/3 frames.
Fort Wayne looks to stay aggressive against South Bend on Sunday afternoon. First pitch in the rubber game between the TinCaps and Silver Hawks is set for 3:05 p.m. with Bryan Verbitsky (0-0, 3.60) starting for Fort Wayne against South Bend's Adam Miller (1-0, 3.18) in a pairing of right-handers. The game can be seen on XFINITY Channel 81 and heard on The Fan 1380. Broadcasters Mike Couzens, John Nolan, and Mike Maahs will be calling the game from Parkview Field's left-center field concourse.