COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – Coby Cowgill, Justin Livengood, and Tayron Guerrero combined to pitch Fort Wayne’s first shutout of the season in a 4-0 TinCaps victory over the West Michigan Whitecaps at Fifth Third Ballpark. The trio teamed up to strike out 10 batters, while walking only one.
But before the pitching clinic began Friday night, Fort Wayne’s offense gave its starter Cowgill a lead to work with. The TinCaps raced out to a 3-0 lead in the first against West Michigan (10-11) starter Buck Farmer (2-2). Josh VanMeter served a one-out double down the left-field line and came in to score on an RBI-single by Dustin Peterson to give Fort Wayne a 1-0 advantage. After Franmil Reyes walked, Fernando Perez also blooped a double to left field that drove in Peterson and advanced Reyes to third base, as the visitors’ lead grew to 2-0. Dane Phillips plated Reyes on a groundout to second base that made it 3-0.
As it turned out, that was more than enough scoring for the TinCaps. Cowgill (1-0), who was making just his second start of the year with Fort Wayne (9-11), was exceptionally effective. The 23-year-old right-hander allowed two infield singles, and nothing more. Cowgill K-ed four in five innings, tossing 42 of his economical 57 pitches for strikes. He induced nine groundouts compared to one flyout.
Though difficult to imagine, Cowgill’s successor, Livengood, was even better. Livengood retired all nine batters he faced from the sixth through the eighth in order. The righty reliever struck out three, as 25 of his 36 pitches were strikes.
Meanwhile, the TinCaps added an insurance run, upping their lead to 4-0, in the top of the eighth inning. With two outs and no one on base, Perez doubled and came home on a Phillips run-scoring single to right field.
Right-hander Tayron Guerrero came on to finish the job for Fort Wayne in the bottom of the ninth. He struck out the first two batters he faced before things became momentarily interesting. Cowgill, Livengood, and Guerrero had set down a combined 13 straight until Ben Verlander and Wynton Bernard singled consecutively. Guerrero then walked Willy Adames to load the bases for Bennett Pickar. Fortunately for the TinCaps, Guerrero recovered to strike out Pickar to end the game.
Also of note from the victory, six of the TinCaps’ 10 hits in the game were doubles. VanMeter and Perez each had two.
Fort Wayne looks to extend its road winning streak to three games on Saturday back at Fifth Third Ballpark with a 1:00 first pitch. The TinCaps send out starter Walker Weickel (1-3, 7.31) against the Whitecaps’ Austin Kubitza (2-0, 2.35). The game can be heard on The Fan 1380.