COMSTOCK PARK, Mich. – The TinCaps lost in a pitchers’ duel to the West Michigan Whitecaps, 2-1, on Thursday night at Fifth Third Ballpark. West Michigan’s win forces a decisive Game 3 in the best-of-three Eastern Division Semifinals back at Fifth Third Ballpark on Friday night.
After Fort Wayne took a 1-0 lead in the third, West Michigan tied the game in the fourth and scored what held as the game-winning run in the seventh.
TinCaps starter Cody Hebner was phenomenal for five innings as he allowed only one run on one hit, one walk, and one hit-batter. The right-hander struck out eight. West Michigan’s lone hit off Hebner came in the fourth when Raph Rhymes hit a two-out double to score Mike Gerber, who had a pitch graze his jersey earlier in the inning. That tied the game, 1-1.
Fort Wayne struck first when Nick Schulz hit a solo home run off Whitecaps starter Kevin Ziomek in the third inning.
Colby Blueberg relieved Hebner in the sixth and worked a scoreless frame. He stayed in the game in the seventh and conceded a one-out single to Dominic Ficociello. The next batter Domingo Leyba also singled to right field, enabling Ficociello to reach third base. Bennett Pickar followed with a sacrifice fly to center field to lift the home team to a 2-1 advantage.
Ronnie Richardson led off the top of the eighth inning with a single and reached second with one out, but was stranded. Dustin Peterson started the ninth with a single as well, but was stranded.
Although the TinCaps out-hit the Whitecaps, 7-5, Fort Wayne went 0-for-3 with runners in scoring position in the game and left seven runners on base. West Michigan was 0-for-6 in those spots and left 5 on.
Game 3 is set for 7:00 p.m. at Fifth Third Ballpark on Friday. The TinCaps are scheduled to start Kyle Lloyd against Jonathon Crawford. The game can be heard on WOWO 1190 AM and 92.3 FM, as well as on TinCaps.com and the TuneIn Radio app.