The Great Lakes Loons (66-41) had to settle for a series split following a 3-1 extra inning loss to the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego Padres) in the finale of a 4-game series in front of 4,455 at Dow Diamond in Midland, MI tonight.
With the game tied at 1-1 in the top of the tenth inning, Fort Wayne DH Michael Curry ripped an RBI-double to score catcher Blake Hunt for a 2-1 lead, while pinch runner (for Curry) Tyler Benson added an insurance run when he scored on an infield ground out to take a 3-1 lead from which the Loons could not recover.
Fort Wayne managed to draw first blood early in the game when second baseman Tucapita Marcano ripped an RBI-single to score Luke Becker (who reached on a walk) for a 1-0 lead in the top of the second inning.
The Loons had been completely hand-cuffed by Tincaps starter Efrain Contreras, who relented a hit to Loons lead-off hitter Kody Hoese (the Dodgers top pick out of Tulane University in the first round of the 2019 MLB draft) back in the first inning and would not allow another hit throughout the next five innings until Hoese (1) belted his first home run at the single-A level, a solo blast over the right field wall at Dow Diamond to knot the game at 1-run apiece.
Contreras' day would come to an end after giving up the 1-run on 3-hits and 2-walks with 5-strikeouts through 5 2/3 innings, while Tincaps reliever Edwuin Bencomo (3.07 ERA) and closer Mason Fox combined to allow just 1-walk with 6-combined strikeouts in the final 4 1/3 innings, giving Fox (1-0) his first win of the year.
On a limited pitch count, Loons starter Jack Little (1.65 ERA) gave up 1-run on 3-hits and 3-walks with 1-strikeout through 2-innings before he was replaced by Jose Chacin (4.68 ERA) who allowed just 4-hits and 2-walks with 5-strikeouts throughout the next 5-innings.
Great Lakes reliever Aaron Ochsenbein (2.25 ERA) was perfect, striking out 3-batters through 2-innings, while Loons closer Jasiel Alvino (3-2, 5.26 ERA) was charged with his second loss of the season after giving up 2-runs on 1-hit and 1-walk with 1-strikeout to close out the tenth inning.
Hoese was responsible for most of the Great Lakes offense, going 2 for 4 with his first home run, while Chis Roller added a double for the only other Loons hit tonight.
The Loons will now head down to Indiana for a 4-game road series (Sat-Tue) against the South Bend Cubs (Chicago Cubs) beginning with a 7:05 pm game tomorrow night.
Video of Hot Air Balloons flying over Dow Diamond tonight: