FORT WAYNE, Ind. - The TinCaps received another outstanding start from Ryan Weathers, but a three Bowling Green runs in the ninth inning gave the Hot Rods a 3-1 win in a classic pitcher’s duel at Parkview Field on Monday night. The game featured just five combined hits over the first seven innings and 11 combined strikeouts overall.
Weathers, San Diego’s first round pick in 2018, was a shining star for the TinCaps, tossing six scoreless innings with six strikeouts and only one hit and one walk allowed. The Loretto, Tenn., native has racked up 28 strikeouts in 22 2/3 innings with Fort Wayne (9-8) this season in four starts. The left-hander has also surrendered just three combined walks in his four starts this season.
The matchups of the night were Weathers’ battles with Wander Franco, currently ranked No. 12 among all prospects by MLB.com. The two hotshot prospects ended the night in a stalemate. Their initial encounter came in the first, when Weathers induced a fly ball to right field for an out. Franco won the second at-bat, turning around a 94 mile-per-hour fastball and grounding a sharp single into left field.
Easton McGee pitched five scoreless innings himself in his start for Bowling Green (10-8), but it nearly wasn’t that way. The TinCaps loaded the bases with nobody out in the fifth on a Justin Lopez infield single, an Agustin Ruiz walk, and a Lee Solomon bunt single. After a Jawuan Harris popout, Xavier Edwards lofted a fly ball to left field that seemingly scored Lopez via a sacrifice fly. Yet, according to the umpires, Lopez missed the plate on his slide home, and the Hot Rods appealed successfully to complete an unconventional inning-ending double play.
The TinCaps finally broke the seal with a run in the seventh inning. Dwanya Williams-Sutton reached second to start the frame on a fielding error, moving to third when the next batter, Lopez, dropped down a sacrifice bunt. Then, with two strikes on him, Ruiz lined a single into right field to score Williams-Sutton. Ruiz, the 19-year-old native of Villahermosa, Mexico, now owns eight RBIs on the season.
Angel Acevedo relieved Weathers and wiggled his way out of a jam in the eighth, when consecutive one-out singles put Grant Witherspoon at third and Roberto Alvarez at first. Acevedo struck out Beau Brundrage and induced an Ozmy Gregorio groundout to extinguish the threat.
The Hot Rods completed the comeback in rapid succession in the top of the ninth inning. Bryce Brown induced a walk to lead off the frame, and then Ford Proctor lined a home run over the left field wall to give Bowling Green the lead for good. Proctor extended his hitting streak to four games with the game-winning home run. The Hot Rods tacked on an insurance run later in the inning when Roberto Alvarez singled home Chris Betts.
With his single, Williams-Sutton extended his on-base streak to start the season to 14 games.
Tuesday, April 23 vs. Bowling Green (12:05 p.m.)
- TinCaps Probable Starter: LHP Ramon Perez
- Hot Rods Probable Starter: LHP Michael Plassmeyer
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