'Caps Take Care of Business, Toss Three-HitterAugust 29, 2012 - Midwest League (MWL) West Michigan Whitecaps
Four West Michigan pitchers combined on a three-hit shutout Wednesday night as the hard-charging Whitecaps overcame a complete-game effort by James Needy in a 1-0 win over the Fort Wayne TinCaps at Parkview Field.
Thanks to wins in nine of their last 13 games, West Michigan (34-31, 70-65) has pulled to within one game of Fort Wayne (35-30, 66-69) with five games remaining in the Eastern Divisions' second-half wild card chase. Both teams trail Lake County, who is currently one game ahead of the TinCaps and two games in front of the Whitecaps in pursuit of the top seed.
The winner of the current three-game series between West Michigan and Fort Wayne will also clinch the head-to-head tiebreaker and the three-way tiebreaker in case the trio of playoff contenders end the regular season in a dead heat, making West Michigan's series-opening win on Wednesday night all the more significant.
Wilsen Palacios (12-9) started and got the win, dealing five scoreless innings and allowing just two hits. The 22-year-old Venezuelan showed no rust despite a 10-day layoff, striking out six and walking one on his way to reaching a dozen wins. The only hits he allowed were singles during his final frame, also representing the only time Fort Wayne advanced a runner past first base against him.
The only run of the night crossed the plate in the top of the second inning. Singles by Lance Durham and Pat Leyland helped the Whitecaps put runners at first and second with two outs, but Gabriel Purroy followed with a routine grounder to shortstop. Jace Peterson fielded the ball but sailed his throw over the head of the first baseman, enabling Durham to come around and score.
With a 1-0 lead, piggyback starter Chad Smith picked up where Palacios left off. The University of Southern California product retired all nine of the batters he faced, sprinkling in three strikeouts over three perfect frames.
Meanwhile, TinCaps' starter James Needy (6-3) was turning in a noteworthy pitching performance of his own. Making just his fourth start of the year, the 21-year-old righty went the distance and allowed only four hits - all singles - and one unearned run over his nine innings of work. Needy struck out five without issuing a walk and allowed just one hit after West Michigan took the lead in the second inning.
With a slim one-run edge heading into the ninth, the relief duo of Jade Todd and Melvin Mercedes (9) got the job done against the top of the Fort Wayne lineup.
After the speedy Travis Jankowski opened the inning with a single off Todd, the lefty reliever got Jace Peterson to fly out to right and induced a fielder's choice groundout from Yeison Asencio. The 'Caps got the out at second on the fielder's choice, but the throw to first sailed into the stands as Asencio was granted second base.
With two outs and the potential game-tying run in scoring position, Fort Wayne skipper Jose Valentin called on Mike Gallic to pinch-hit in order to eliminate what would have been a lefty-lefty match-up.
Young countered with his closer, and the hard-throwing Mercedes got Gallic to ground out for his ninth save of the year.
The Whitecaps continue their final road trip of the year with the second game of a three-game series against the Fort Wayne TinCaps at 7:05 p.m. on Thursday night. RHP Tommy Collier (9-7, 2.66) is scheduled to take the hill for West Michigan against RHP Matt Wisler (5-4, 2.45) of Fort Wayne. Just three home games remain the regular season, with the 'Caps kicking off their season-ending three-game series at Fifth Third Ballpark on Saturday, September 1, at 7:00 p.m. Fireworks will follow the ballgame. Group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
Midwest League Stories from August 29, 2012
- Bees Can't Fend off Clinton, 6-3 - Burlington Bees
- Two More for Paolini in 6-3 Win - Clinton LumberKings
- River Bandits Rally Late to Keep Playoff Hopes Alive - Quad Cities River Bandits
- Chiefs Fall Behind Early, Can't Catch Up Wednesday - Peoria Chiefs
- Votto Returns But Dragons Fall 5-4 - Dayton Dragons
- TinCaps Announce Roster Moves - Fort Wayne TinCaps
- Aguila's Four-Hit Night Not Enough - South Bend Silver Hawks
- 'Caps Take Care of Business, Toss Three-Hitter - West Michigan Whitecaps
- Lugs win 80th, blast past Silver Hawks, 7-3 - Lansing Lugnuts
- Captains Stall Hot Rods 7-2 - Lake County Captains
- Needy Goes the Distance in 1-0 Loss - Fort Wayne TinCaps
- Vettleson Hits 15th Jack But Road Streak Ends - Bowling Green Hot Rods
- OF Dalton Pompey Joins Lugnuts - Lansing Lugnuts
- Argo, Sawyer Received from Princeton - Bowling Green Hot Rods
- Lugs' Tamargo Named MWL Manager of the Year, Pillar Honored as MVP - Lansing Lugnuts
- Two Snappers Named Midwest League Post Season All-Stars - Beloit Snappers
- Hedges and Portillo Named MWL Post-Season All-Stars - Fort Wayne TinCaps
- TinCaps' Stites to Play in Arizona Fall League - Fort Wayne TinCaps
- Kernels Release 2013 Schedule on September 4th - Cedar Rapids Kernels
- River Bandits Garcia, Walsh Named Postseason All-Stars - Quad Cities River Bandits
- Dragons Gameday for August 29 - Dayton Dragons
- Roster Update - Burlington Bees
- 2012 MWL Post-Season All-Star Team Announced - MWL
- Kane County Cougars Homestand Preview: September 1-3 - Kane County Cougars
- Dragons on TV Thursday - Dayton Dragons
- Gary Mitchell Promoted to Inland Empire - Cedar Rapids Kernels
- Waldrop, Mugarian Are Dragons Players of the Month - Dayton Dragons
- LumberKings Win Second-Half Western Division - Clinton LumberKings
- River Bandits Swept by Clinton in 6-5, 13-Inning Loss - Quad Cities River Bandits
The opinions expressed in this release are those of the organization issuing it, and do not necessarily reflect the thoughts or opinions of OurSports Central or its staff.