COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. — Jake Bauers broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the seventh inning with a two-run double down the left-field line and the TinCaps went on to beat the West Michigan Whitecaps, 5-3, at Fifth Third Ballpark on Sunday afternoon. The victory was Fort Wayne’s second in a row, meaning a series win and a 4-2 record on its road trip to the Wolverine State. The TinCaps have won eight of their last 11 games overall.
Bauers’ opposite-field double came against against Whitecaps reliever Artie Lewicki (1-2), who also allowed singles to Ronnie Richardson and Henry Charles.
Lewicki came in with two outs in the top of the fourth inning after Fort Wayne (19-23, 49-62) figuratively and literally knocked West Michigan (27-15, 68-44) starter Kevin Ziomek out of the game. The TinCaps scored three runs against the Midwest League’s ERA leader. Nick Schulz hit a two-run double off the left-hander to give Fort Wayne a 2-1 lead. Josh VanMeter then hit a line drive off Ziomek’s back that drove in a run and ended the starter’s day after 89 pitches. He conceded four hits and three walks.
But unfortunately for the TinCaps, their own starter had an early departure, too. Cody Hebner left with two outs in the bottom of the third inning with an injury. Hebner exited with the score, 0-0, and a runner at first base, Andy Dirks, who would score in unearned fashion.
Erik Cabrera relieved Hebner and worked 2 1/3 scoreless innings before he ran into trouble in the sixth. Cabrera gave up consecutive singles to start the sixth and gave way to Jason Jester (1-1). The 2014 draft pick allowed both inherited runs to score, but nothing more over two innings and received credit for the win.
Eric Yardley tossed a scoreless eighth and Ryan Butler pitched a perfect ninth to notch his fifth save in as many opportunities.
The TinCaps return to Parkview Field to open a seven-game homestand Monday at 7:05 p.m. against Lansing. Kyle Lloyd will start for Fort Wayne and the Lugnuts’ Brad Allen. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380, TinCaps.com, and the TuneIn Radio app, and seen on XFINITY Channel 81.