First pitch: Fort Wayne at West Michigan, today at 7:10 p.m.
Probable starters: FW/Jimmi Brasoban vs. WM/Jon Maciel
Radio: ESPN 1380-AM
It wasn’t facing an all-star pitcher that caused Fort Wayne problems in its Midwest League game at West Michigan Friday. It was the Whitecaps exploding on the TinCaps’ bullpen with one big inning that proved too much to overcome in the 5-2 West Michigan win.
Fort Wayne starter Ronald Herrera battled league all-star Austin Kubitza well through five innings, and the TinCaps held a 2-0 advantage after a productive fifth inning.
In that inning, Fort Wayne’s Henry Charles singled, which was followed by a double from Rey Bruguera to put TinCap runners at second and third base.
Former Norwell High School standout Josh VanMeter connected for an RBI on a groundout to score Charles. Trea Turner was able to score Bruguera on a Whitecap fielding error.
Holding the slim lead, Josh Richardson (1-2) relieved Herrera in the sixth and got in trouble quickly. He faced six batters and allowed five hits and a walk.
West Michigan (27-13 second half, 68-42) tied the game at two runs apiece with a pair of RBI singles, which was followed by a two-run double from Jeff Holm.
The Whitecaps added one final tally for good measure and the scoring for the evening was finished.
The TinCaps (17-23, 47-62) threatened in their final at bat when they brought the tying run to the plate. However, Turner struck out to end the game. That strikeout was the 15th on the night for Fort Wayne, which was the sixth consecutive outing in which they’ve struck out at least 10 times.
Whitecap hurler Joe Mantiply (6-3) was responsible for three of those strikeouts, as he worked a scoreless sixth and seventh to get the win. Reininger pitched the eighth and ninth for his ninth save.
In relief of Richardson, Jorge Guzman tossed two scoreless and Nick Mutz another.