After trading zeroes for much of the night, The TinCaps exploded in the bottom of the seventh, sending 12 men to the plate and scoring seven runs.
Up to that point, Anthony Bass and Taylor Sinclair owned the show. Bass retired the first 15 batters he faced before yielding a leadoff single to right . It was the only hit he would surrender.
Sinclair did his best to match the effort. The left-hander allowed two hits and a walk across five innings but two caught stealing and a pickoff meant he had also pitched to the minimum.
“I like it when it is a pitcher’s duel,” Bass said. “It is a quick game and I like getting back out there on the mound. It motivated me to keep my team in there.”
Bass worked out of trouble in the sixth after the leadoff single and being called for a balk. While that could have been his undoing, he got a groundout with the infield drawn in after a sacrifice bunt and retired the final batter on a soft line out to shortstop.
“They called a balk on him – the guy gets to third with one out,” manager Doug Dascenzo explained. “We pull the infield in. He keeps the ball down and the guy hits it right to our defense and we come back and have a big inning.”
Adam Zornes battled through a walk to open the bottom half and moved to second on a sharp single from Robert Lara. With a tight game, the sacrifice was on. Kevin Hansen laid down a beautiful bunt that no one could make a play on, loading the bases.
Blake Tekotte was first pitch swinging, smacking a flare to right field to score a pair. The floodgates opened from there.
“He is getting on top of the ball and recognizing pitches much sooner,” Dascenzo said of Tekotte.
Dan Robertson delivered a sacrifice fly, Justin Baum walked, Yefri Carvajal smacked a sharp single to left, Cole Figueroa reached on an infield single with pure hustle, Zornes singled and a second run scored on a throwing error while Robert Lara finished off the scoring with a single to left.
“We embraced the fact that our three, four, five hitters moved up,” Hansen said. “We accepted the fact that we have to hustle and play small ball.”
“I was trying to put the ball in play,” Figueroa said of his infield hit to keep the rally going. “It happened to be in a good spot. The first baseman froze and gave me a window to slide around him. You take them when you get them.”
Bass came back to work a perfect seventh, striking out six across the course of the game.
“I went to the bullpen to play some catch,” Bass said of his routine during Fort Wayne’s big inning.
The TinCaps would end the series with a sweep, moving to 15-1 on the season against South Bend. They have compiled a franchise record 10 straight home wins and are 41-0 when leading after eight innings.
The TinCaps will enjoy a day off on Monday before getting back on the field to play Dayton. Michael Watt will get the starting nod on Tuesday.
Justin Baum has a hit in his first at-bat of each game since he has returned to Fort Wayne. Baum had the first two TinCaps hits and was caught stealing twice – once on a botched hit-and-run.
“You have to try and generate stuff during a 0-0 game,” Dascenzo said. “Unfortunately, he threw a 1-1 changeup to Yefri Carvajal and he is working on some stuff and it didn’t work out. You have to try.”
Tom Tornicasa managed from the third base side while Doug Dascenzo took care of first. Generally, it is Dascenzo who manages third and relays the signs to the hitters.
“That was by design,” Dascenzo said. “We felt like after the first half, we are going to flip-flop it. It gives me a different view and gives him time to give some signs.”
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