FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The TinCaps lost the opening game of the best-of-five Midwest League Championship Series to the Quad Cities River Bandits (Houston Astros), 6-3, on Wednesday night at Parkview Field. With a passionate crowd of 1,874 on hand in the rain, the TinCaps raised their season attendance number in 2017 to 415,248-a new franchise record-surpassing the previous high of 413,701 in 2016.
Quad Cities opened the game on fire offensively in the top of the first inning. The first two batters, Chas McCormick and Colin Moran, both singled to put runners on the corners. After a Troy Sieber strikeout, Chuckie Robinson grounded out to third base, scoring McCormick from third on the play to give the River Bandits a 1-0 lead. Abraham Toro followed with a triple that brought home Moran for a 2-0 Quad Cities advantage. After a Josh Rojas walk, the River Bandits had runners on first and third base. J.J. Matijevic homered over the right-center-field wall to extend the Quad Cities edge to 5-0.
Fort Wayne had some quick offense in the first as well. Center fielder Jack Suwinski worked a walk to begin the inning. Right fielder Nate Easley followed with a two-run home run to left-center field to trim the Quad Cities advantage to 5-2.
The River Bandits upped their lead in the third. With one out, Chuckie Robinson nailed a pitch over the wall in right-center field to make the score 6-2.
The TinCaps cut into the deficit again in the fourth. Designated hitter Jorge Oña led off with a walk. Three batters later, 17-year-old second baseman Justin Lopez crushed a ball to the right-field wall, allowing Oña to score from first and slice the River Bandits' lead to 6-3.
Fort Wayne starting pitcher Pedro Avila (L) allowed six runs, but only that one after the first inning. The 20-year-old Venezuelan struck out 12 batters over six innings while walking just one batter. Reliever Jim McDade didn't allow a hit or run over three innings of work while striking out six batters.
Ultimately though, the hole was too large for Fort Wayne to dig out of. Quad Cities starting pitcher Cristian Javier meandered out of trouble. The right-hander allowed five hits and three runs but struck out six batters in 3 2/3 innings on the mound. Jesus Balaguer (W) came into the game with the bases loaded and two outs in the fourth but got a strikeout to end the inning. The 23-year-old struck out seven batters and allowed one hit in three innings pitched. Robert Corniel (S) pitched the final 2 1/3 innings for the River Bandits, allowing just one base runner over that stretch.
Fort Wayne and Quad Cities continue the Midwest League Championship Series on Thursday, September 14 (7:05 p.m.) with Game 2 of the best-of-five series. Game 3 and, if necessary, Games 4 and 5 will be played on the road at Quad Cities.
Tickets for the Midwest League Playoffs at Parkview Field are on sale at TinCapsTickets.com, by calling 260-482-6400, and by visiting the ballpark's Ticket Office during regular business hours. Thursday's Game 2 will be a Thirsty Thursday presented by Rudy's, meaning $1 domestic drafts and other drink specials will be available. Ticket prices are the same as in the regular season, starting at just $5.
Thursday, September 14 vs. Quad Cities River Bandits (7:05 p.m.)
- TinCaps Probable Starter: RH Lake Bachar
- River Bandits Probable Starter: LH Patrick Sandoval
Watch: Comcast Network 81
Listen: ESPN Radio 1380 & 100.9 FM / TinCapsRadio.com / TuneIn
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.