Bowling Green, KY – After a rain delay of 34 minutes at the start of the night, the travel-weary Fort Wayne TinCaps showed the extra rest was helpful after all. Hitless through four innings and trailing, 5-0, the TinCaps outscored the Hot Rods 10-1 over the game’s final five innings for a 10-6 win in the series opener Saturday night at Bowling Green Ballpark.
Fort Wayne (28-33) arrived in Kentucky around 6:30 a.m. central time Saturday morning and perhaps was a bit sleepy over the first four innings, in which they were hitless and fell behind by five. However in the fifth against Hot Rods starter Chris Kirsch, the offense got rolling. Jake Bauers singled—extending his team-best hitting streak to 13 games—which was the first of four straight hits. Luis Tejada and Josh VanMeter drove in runs, and the TinCaps also netted runs on a throwing error and wild pitch to pull within one run.
Tejada, who hit two home runs in all of 2013 with the TinCaps, led off the seventh inning with a home run—his first of 2014–to tie the game, and Mallex Smith doubled in Ronnie Richardson, putting Fort Wayne ahead, 6-5, with a lead they would not relinquish.
Bowling Green (28-33) tied the game against the Fort Wayne bullpen in the seventh, but it was the Hot Rods ‘pen that slipped in a crucial moment. Brad Schreiber (1-3) threw three wild pitches in the top of the ninth, setting the stage for four TinCaps runs. Fort Wayne pulled away and Nick Mutz worked a four-batter ninth to close out the evening. Tayron Guerrero (6-0) earned the win with two scoreless frames.
TinCaps starter Kyle Lloyd went 5 1/3 innings and allowed a career-high eight hits while walking three and striking out six. Kirsch, even with his four near-perfect frames, finished with 6 1/3 innings of seven-hit ball, six runs (four earned) two walks and two strikeouts.
The come-from-behind win was the team’s third when trailing by five runs, and they second time they’d done so at Bowling Green this season. The 10-run output also marks the ninth time that the Midwest League’s highest-scoring offense has hit double digits.
The second game of the three-game series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 3:05 PM ET. The scheduled starters are Payton Baskette for the TinCaps and Ryne Stanek for the Hot Rods. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380 and TheFanIndiana.com