Magic Number Down to One Despite Loss
(Fort Wayne, IN) - Despite a 3-2 loss to the Fort Wayne TinCaps (32-34), the Lake County Captains' (39-28) magic number to clinch the Midwest League Eastern Division Wild Card shrunk to one on Friday night. The Captains lost the opening game of a three-game series at Parkview Field, but the Bowling Green Hot Rods, who are chasing the Captains for the Wild Card, lost on the road to the Lansing Lugnuts by the same score at Cooley Law School Stadium.
In Fort Wayne, Captains starter Luis Oviedo pitched well over six innings, but took a hard-luck loss thanks to two TinCaps home runs. In the bottom of the first, Tucupita Marcano reached with one out on an infield single. The left-handed hitter pulled a grounder and first baseman Mitch Reeves made a backhand stab, knocking the ball down with the heel of his glove before throwing to Oviedo covering first. Marcano, however beat the throw. Two batters later, Agustin Ruiz cranked a two-run homer to right-centerfield to give the TinCaps a 2-0 lead.
Lake County pulled within one run in the top of the third. Bo Naylor stung a one-out double to centerfield and was still at second with two outs and Ruben Cardenas at the plate. Cardenas hit a hard grounder that ramped up the mound and was fielded behind second by Xavier Edwards. The TinCaps' second baseman backhanded the ball, but yanked his throw past first baseman Lee Solomon. Naylor scored from second on the error and Cardenas landed on second. Fort Wayne starter Ryan Weathers then stranded Cardenas on second to keep the TinCaps ahead, 2-1.
Another home run extended the TinCaps' advantage to 3-1 in the fifth. With one out and the bases empty, Michael Curry hit a high pitch by Oviedo over the left field wall to give Fort Wayne an insurance marker.
The Captains nearly came back in the top of the ninth, but fell short. With one out and nobody aboard, Will Benson hit a towering fly ball over the right field wall for his league-leading 17th homer of the year. The shot off of reliever Austin Smith pulled Lake County within one run and Reeves followed with an infield single on a soft grounder down the third base line. Smith, however, capped the game by getting Jose Fermin to bounce a double play ball to shortstop. Justin Lopez used his glove to field and flip to Edwards at second, who fired to first to end the game and give Smith his fourth save.
Reliever Jose Quezada picked up the win. Quezada (5-1) pitched two scoreless innings in relief of Weathers and allowed one hit. He struck out two and did not issue a walk. Adrian Martinez followed with two scoreless innings before Smith pitched the final two frames.
Oviedo (6-3) suffered the loss. He allowed three runs on six hits over six innings. Outside of the two homers, Oviedo surrendered four singles, only one of which left the infield. The right-hander struck out seven and did not issue a walk.
The Captains have an opportunity to clinch their first playoff berth since 2014 on Saturday night. Either a Captains win or a Bowling Green loss would seal the First Half Wild Card for Lake County. First pitch between the Captains and TinCaps at Parkview Field is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.
Individual game tickets for all Captains games are on sale at the Classic Park box office, online at captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Mini ticket plans for the 2019 season are still available for great prices complete with several exclusive benefits. Information can be found at the Captains website www.captainsbaseball.com.
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Midwest League Stories from June 14, 2019
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