The TinCaps unleashed nearly a week of offensive frustration on unprepared Dayton, lashing a season-high nine extra-base hits in a 9-3 drubbing of the first-place Dragons in front of an announced crowd of 3,648 at Parkview Field on Wednesday.
“We had a really good batting practice today,” outfielder Grant Little said. “You could feel it in the dugout, the intensity was up throughout entire the game. When we keep that intensity with our at-bats throughout the game, that's the type of game we can have, we have the talent to do that.”
Fort Wayne (31-37), which had managed four hits or fewer in five of its previous six games, took control in the sixth inning, when it sent nine hitters to the plate and pushed across four runs to break a 2-all deadlock.
The hit that opened the floodgates was a frozen rope to deep center off the bat of Reinaldo Ilarraza with a runner on second and two outs. The ball eluded the glove of center-fielder Michael Siani by inches and Ilarraza ended up with a double as Kelvin Alarcon crossed the plate with the go-ahead run.
Little added an RBI double of his own later in the inning and he added another run-scoring two-bagger in a three-run seventh inning that put the game out of reach.
Adam Kerner also had an RBI double in that seventh inning and Alarcon had a triple. Alarcon came a home run short of the cycle, going 3 for 4 with a walk and two runs scored. It was his first three-hit game since July 27, 2019 at short-season Tri-City.
“We were just really locked in,” Little said. “We were just trying to get good pitches to hit. They made some tough pitches, we spoiled some of them and we worked the count. They threw some breaking balls middle of the plate and we were able to do some damage.
“It's always fun to see guys have big days, like Alarcon, he had a monster day.”
Seven of Fort Wayne's 15 hits, one shy of a season-best, were doubles, catapulting the TinCaps into the league lead in two-baggers with 130 this season.
The TinCaps trailed 1-0 just two batters into the game after the Dragons (37-30) led off the evening with a single and an RBI double.
It was 2-0 in the bottom of the fourth – despite Fort Wayne putting a runner in scoring position in two of the first three innings – but first baseman Luis Almanzar changed that, lifting a two-run homer to left, his second long ball of the season.
The blast came off Dragons starter Lyon Richardson, who pitched seven innings and struck out 10 TinCaps in his previous start at Parkview Field in June.
“Last time we faced (Richardson) he kind of embarrassed us and I think we took that personally,” Little said.
Fort Wayne's bullpen kept the Dayton offense in check after starter Danny Denz departed following the third inning. Felix Minjarez, Fred Schlichtholz, Austin Smith and Michell Miliano combined to give up one run on four hits in six innings and Schlichtholz picked up the victory.
When: 7:05 p.m. today
Where: Parkview Field
Pitchers: Anderson Espinoza (TinCaps) vs. Eduardo Salazar (Dragons)
TV: Xfinity 81
Radio: 1380 AM, 100.9 FM