Fort Wayne (Indiana's NewsCenter)- Following a game in which the Fort Wayne offense produced no runs and three hits, the TinCaps rattled off 14 hits in a 10-4 win over the West Michigan Whitecaps on Thursday night. With a win in Friday’s series finale, Fort Wayne would secure a playoff berth for the fourth straight season.
The TinCaps scored at least one run in six of the eight innings in which they came to the plate. Yeison Asencio, Duanel Jones and Tyler Stubblefield each contributed two RBI, and Travis Jankowski extended his hitting streak to a TinCaps season-best 13 games.
West Michigan (34-32, 70-66) scored the first run of the game on a Lance Durham RBI single in the top half of the second inning. Durham’s single was one of a career-high 11 hits surrendered by Fort Wayne (36-30, 67-69) starter Matt Wisler. The 19-year-old worked three batters in to the fifth inning before he was removed in favor of James Jones (3-5). Wisler allowed two earned runs, struck out five and did not issue a walk.
The TinCaps began their offensive attack with two runs in the bottom of the second inning. Tyler Stubblefield, who entered play with four hits in his previous 25 at-bats, laced a 1-2, two-out pitch into the left field corner to score both Travis Whitmore and Duanel Jones, giving Fort Wayne a 2-1 lead. Jones and Austin Hedges contributed RBI singles in the third inning, knocking Whitecaps starter Tommy Collier (9-8) from the game.
A Jace Peterson sacrifice fly lengthened the TinCaps advantage to 5-1 in the fourth inning. West Michigan reliever Brennan Smith, who followed Collier, worked 4 1/3 innings and gave up four earned runs. The TinCaps plated a single run in the fifth and two more in the sixth, stretching the lead to 8-3. The Whitecaps scored an unearned run against Daniel Cropper in the eighth, but Fort Wayne responded with two more runs, setting the final score at 10-4.
The rubber match of the three-game series is scheduled for Friday night at 7:05. The scheduled starters are Erik Cabrera for the TinCaps and Kyle Ryan for the Whitecaps.
The winner of Friday night’s game holds the advantage should there be a three-way tie to finish the season between Fort Wayne, West Michigan and Lake County. The three-way tiebreaker belongs to the team with the best winning percentage in games involving tied teams for the full season. The TinCaps were 6-6 against Lake County, West Michigan was 11-11 against Lake County, and the winner of Friday’s game will hold a 10-9 advantage in the season series between Fort Wayne and West Michigan.
If the TinCaps lose Friday, the gap between Fort Wayne and West Michigan in the wild-card race will favor the TinCaps by one game. Thus, in the final three-game series of the regular season, Fort Wayne must maintain at least a one-game advantage over the Whitecaps, who would hold the tiebreaker were the TinCaps and Whitecaps to finish even in the second-half standings.
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