FORT WAYNE, Ind. – The 2015 season ended for the TinCaps on Thursday night at Parkview Field, as the West Michigan Whitecaps beat Fort Wayne, 2-1, in Game 2 of the best-of-three Eastern Division Semifinals. The Whitecaps now are set to play the Lansing Lugnuts for the right to advance to the Midwest League Championship Series.
West Michigan, which won Game 1 by a score of 5-2 at Fifth Third Ballpark on Wednesday, broke a 1-1 tie in the top of the fifth inning. Catcher Kade Scivicque hit a two-out double past third base against Fort Wayne starter Ernesto Montas to score center fielder Ross Kivett from second. Kivett led the inning off with a single and moved to second on a sacrifice bunt by shortstop A.J. Simcox. Scivicque, a rookie out of LSU, came through after the number three hitter, Mike Gerber, flew out to right field.
The TinCaps initially led, 1-0, thanks to a Michael Gettys RBI single in the first inning. The center fielder drove in right fielder Franmil Reyes, who had singled himself with two outs against Whitecaps starter A.J. Ladwig. Reyes advanced to second when first baseman Trae Santos drew a walk.
After that, though, Ladwig stymied Fort Wayne for the next six innings. Over seven frames, Ladwig limited the TinCaps to six hits and a walk. The 22-year-old right-hander struck out seven.
The visitors tied the game, 1-1, in the top of the third inning. Kivett bunted for a hit with one out and went to second base on a Simcox single. Gerber then reached first on a fielder’s choice groundout to second, as Simcox was forced out. With Scivique batting, Gerber took off for second base. Fort Wayne figured to have an out on the play as catcher Jose Ruiz threw to second base. Gerber was caught in a rundown when second baseman Josh VanMeter threw to third, where Kivett was off the bag. Although the throw beat Kivett back to the base, third baseman Luis Urias couldn’t hold on before a tag, and both runners were safe at second and third, respectively. Scivique worked a walk and ball four was a wild pitch, bringing Kivett across.
Fort Wayne had chances to score but went 1-for-7 with runners in scoring position and left seven runners on base. West Michigan wasn’t much better in that regard, going 2-for-11 in those situations and stranding nine.
Relievers Kyle McGrath (2 1/3 IP), Yimmi Brasoban (1 IP), and Colby Blueberg (1 IP) did their best to keep the TinCaps in the game by holding the Whitecaps off the board, yet a late-inning rally — which had been commonplace during the 2015 season — never materialized.
Following Ladwig’s performance, fire-throwing Gerson Moreno worked the final two innings for the save.
Opening Day 2016 for the TinCaps at Parkview Field is set for Saturday, April 9 at 6:05 p.m. against the Lake County Captains.