GENEVA, Ill. – The TinCaps cut a six-run deficit down to one, but eventually fell short on the road Thursday afternoon against the Kane County Cougars, 7-5, in the rubber game of a three-game series at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. A Franmil Reyes solo home run and a four-run sixth inning proved futile for the visitors.
For the sixth time in seven games this season, Fort Wayne (2-5) made at least two errors defensively. The early miscues cost the TinCaps again on Thursday and Kane County (4-3) capitalized in racing out to a 6-0 lead after two innings.
The Cougars scored twice in the bottom of the first frame against TinCaps starter Walker Weickel (0-2). With runners at second and third base and no outs, Yasiel Balaguert hit a grounder to shortstop that Franchy Cordero mishandled, allowing both runners to come home.
Weickel responded by striking out three straight to end the first, but his defense was problematic again to begin the second inning. Third baseman Dustin Peterson committed an error on a ground ball off the bat of Shawon Dunston, Jr. It got worse for the right-hander from there, as he hit Will Remillard and allowed a single to Trey Martin that scored Dunston to make it 3-0. Later with the bases loaded, Weickel threw a wild pitch to plate Martin and increase Kane County’s lead to 4-0. Balaguert broke the game open with a two-run single.
Fort Wayne’s comeback endeavor begin in the fourth against Tyler Skulina (1-0). Reyes, 18, the youngest player in the Midwest League, cranked a solo shot over the left-center field wall to put the TinCaps on the board.
Meanwhile, Payton Baskette relieved Weickel after two innings and kept Fort Wayne in the game with 5 1/3 innings of quality relief. Despite walking five, Baskette kept the Cougars off the board through the seventh.
In the top of the sixth, a two-out rally gave the TinCaps life. Josh VanMeter doubled to begin the inning and came in on a double by Fernando Perez. Following a Dane Phillips single, Cordero hit a blooper to left field to plate Perez and bring Fort Wayne with three, 6-3. Skulina then exited and Ryan Miller laced a two-run double off Justin Amlung to make things interesting, 6-5.
However, the TinCaps stranded the tying runner in scoring position in the seventh and two runners on base in the ninth inning. In between, the Cougars added an insurance score against Baskette in the eighth. Tyler Bremer picked up his first save of the season out of Kane County’s bullpen.
The TinCaps continue their road trip against the West Division on Friday night against the Clinton LumberKings with first pitch scheduled for 7:30 EDT. The game can be heard on The Fan 1380.