FORT WAYNE, Ind. – Hudson Potts hit a 3-run home run in the first inning and a grand slam in the second to lead the TinCaps to a 7-5 win over the Great Lakes Loons in their series opener at Parkview Field on Wednesday night.
Fort Wayne’s magic number to clinch a playoff spot is down to one.
Potts joined Brad Zunica and Fernando Tatis Jr. as the only Fort Wayne players to have hit two homers in a game this season.
Great Lakes (30-35, 66-68) scored first in the top of the first inning. With Gavin Lux at third base and one out, Cristian Santana singled to center field, scoring Lux for a 1-0 Loons lead.
Fort Wayne (40-25, 66-69) would proceed to score seven straight runs, including three in the bottom of the first inning. After center fielder Jack Suwinski and right fielder Nate Easley walked to begin the half inning, Potts cranked an opposite-field home run over the wall in right-center field to put Fort Wayne up, 3-1.
The TinCaps would extend their lead in the second inning thanks again to Potts. A single, a walk, and another single loaded the bases for Potts. The 18-year-old Texas native, crushed a ball past the left-field wall for a grand slam, pushing the Fort Wayne advantage to 7-1. It was the first-career grand slam for Potts and his 19th homer of the season. The grand slam was also the fifth hit by the TinCaps this season.
The Loons did mount a comeback, beginning with a run in the fourth. Jared Walker tripled to begin the inning and scored on a Moises Perez groundout to trim the TinCaps’ lead to 7-2.
Great Lakes added three more runs in the fifth. Lux doubled to start the frame. Santana followed with a single to score Lux and make the score 7-3. After back-to-back batters worked walks to load the bases, Walker also worked a walk to bring home another run and cut the Fort Wayne edge to 7-4. Two batters later, with the bases still loaded and one out, Stevie Berman grounded into a fielder’s choice, but another run scored to make it a 7-5 ballgame.
The Fort Wayne bullpen was stellar once again. Ronald Bolaños (W), Dauris Valdez, and Hansel Rodriguez (S) combined to strike out seven batters in five scoreless innings of work. The trio of relievers allowed just one hit and two walks. TinCaps starting pitcher Reggie Lawson struck out eight batters in four innings on the mound but ran into trouble in the fifth inning, allowing four baserunners before Bolaños came into the game.
Loons starting pitcher Marshall Kasowski (L) allowed just one hit but walked three batters and gave up three runs while throwing just 2/3 of an inning.
Elsewhere in Indiana, South Bend fell to West Michigan, 2-0. This means that the next time the TinCaps win or the Cubs lose, the TinCaps clinch a Midwest League Playoff spot. Counting Thursday, Fort Wayne has five regular season games remaining.
Thursday, August 31 vs. Great Lakes (7:05 p.m.)
– TinCaps Probable Starter: LH Adrian Morejon
– Loons Probable Starter: TBA
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