(Eastlake, OH) - The Lake County Captains (1-0) opened the 2018 season in style on Thursday. Trailing by two runs at the start of the ninth and with just one hit to show for their efforts, the Captains rallied and came away with a walk-off win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps (0-1). After a bevy of walks and a wild pitch helped Lake County knot the score, Jorma Rodriguez put the Captains in the win column with an RBI single to give the Captains a 3-2 win.
The TinCaps led 2-0 heading into the ninth, but three Fort Wayne pitchers had trouble hitting the strike zone. Lefty Ben Scheckler walked Nolan Jones to lead off and was promptly pulled from the game. Two batters later, right-hander Joe Galindo walked Will Benson and Michael Rivera to load the bases with one out. Ulysses Cantu then worked a walk to force in Jones and pull the Captains within one run.
Fort Wayne made another call to the bullpen, calling on right-hander Jordan Guerrero to face Jose Medina and the Captains sent Todd Isaacs out to pinch run for Rivera. On his first pitch out of the bullpen, Guerrero spiked the ball in the dirt and Benson scampered home from third to tie the score at 2-2.
After the wild pitch, the TinCaps elected to walk Medina to load the bases for Rodriguez. With Isaacs on third, Cantu on second and Medina on first, Rodriguez came up and slapped a ground ball to the right side. First baseman Carlos Belen slid to his right, but could only get a piece of the bouncing ball. Isaacs scored the winning run on Rodriguez's walk-off single.
Thursday's game was a pitcher's duel at the start. Captains starter Elijah Morgan pitched six innings and allowed just one unearned run on four hits. The right-hander struck out eight and did not issue a walk. Meanwhile, Fort Wayne starter Nick Margevicius struck out seven of the first 10 Captains he faced and did not give up a hit until the sixth. After allowing a single to Austen Wade that broke up the southpaw's no-hitter, Margevicius' night was done. He pitched 5.2 scoreless frames with nine strikeouts and one hit allowed.
Fort Wayne scored its first run in the fourth inning on a near-double play ball. Jeisson Rosario led off the frame with a single and moved to second on an error by shortstop Ernie Clement. With runners on first and second and one out, however, Clement made a stellar defensive play. On a grounder up the middle by Luis Campusano, Clement made a diving stop behind second base and flipped to Rodriguez at second for the putout. Rodriguez then tried to throw to first to complete the double play, but his throw sailed high and Rosario raced home.
The TinCaps other run scored in the ninth thanks to a pair of walks and a wild pitch by Captains reliever James Karinchak . Tirso Ornelas walked to start the inning and Campusano followed with a free pass of his own. A wild pitch by Karinchak later scored Ornelas to give the TinCaps a 2-0 lead.
Despite giving up the run in the ninth, Karinchak (1-0) came away with the victory. He pitched one inning and allowed one run on no hits and two walks. The right-hander struck out two.
Galindo (0-1) took the loss for Fort Wayne. The righty allowed two runs in a third of an inning. Galindo walked three, did not record a strike out and did not allow a hit. Guerrero was charged with a blown save for allowing the tying and winning runs to score on his watch.
The Captains take on Fort Wayne again on Friday night. First pitch at Classic Park is scheduled for 6:30 p.m.
Information about Classic Park or the Captains can be found online at www.captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Affordable ticket packages and group party and picnic options are available now.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.