Fort Wayne, IN - It was a back-and-forth battle between the South Bend Cubs and Fort Wayne TinCaps on Thursday night from Parkview Field in Downtown Fort Wayne. The lead changed in the game three separate times, but it was Fort Wayne having a power surge late, and a strong
Fort Wayne, IN - It was a back-and-forth battle between the South Bend Cubs and Fort Wayne TinCaps on Thursday night from Parkview Field in Downtown Fort Wayne. The lead changed in the game three separate times, but it was Fort Wayne having a power surge late, and a strong showing from their bullpen to finish off an 8-5 final.
With their win, and West Michigan’s loss to Lansing, the TinCaps will enter the game on Friday night just 1.5 games back of first place in the East Division.
Thursday began with right-hander Grant Kipp on the mound for the Cubs, opposed by Fort Wayne lefty Miguel Cienfuegos. Both starters tossed a scoreless 1st, including Kipp working a 1-2-3 bottom of the 1st inning.
Fort Wayne was on the board first in the bottom of the 2nd, via a long-gone two-run homer by first baseman Griffin Doersching. As the TinCaps led 2-0, Kipp locked in and sent the TinCaps down in order in the 3rd.
The most productive inning so far this series for the Cubs came along in the top of the 4th. Cienfuegos returned to the mound, and South Bend got to him. The big rally started when James Triantos singled, then Cienfuegos walked both Kevin Alcántara and Felix Stevens.
With the bags loaded, a wild pitch scored Triantos, and then Christian Franklin lasered a single into center field to tie things up. The next batter was Luis Verdugo. Entering tonight’s game with a 10-game hitting streak, Verdugo continued the hot stretch and pounded a single up the middle to plate two more. South Bend took the 4-2 lead in the bottom of the 4th.
The quick-witted TinCaps immediately had an answer. They rallied with three runs in the bottom of the 4th to swipe the advantage back 5-4.
As the 5th came along, South Bend fought back again. It was like a Holyfield vs Tyson heavyweight bout. One big swing and punch after another. With Alcántara’s RBI groundout in the 5th, the Cubs evened things at 5-5.
That’s when the game slowed down. Neither club posted a rally in the 6th or 7th, and the bullpen’s stayed sharp. Sheldon Reed fired 1.2 shutout frames for South Bend, and then Michael McAvene worked a 1-2-3 7th.
When the 8th inning rolled in, Fort Wayne had their bats come to life once more with three key runs. Two of them were plated on a long home run from Colton Bender, who was 3/4 in the game. As the TinCaps jumped into an 8-5 lead, suddenly the Cubs were down to their final three outs.
Cole Paplham closed out the save and Fort Wayne has now won back-to-back games in the series. Game 4 of this week’s set will commence on Friday night at 7:05 PM. Right-hander Brody McCullough is schedule to be on the rubber for the Cubs.