FORT WAYNE – The TinCaps rallied in the eighth and ninth innings but eventually fell to the Bowling Green Hot Rods, 2-1, on Sunday afternoon at Parkview Field.
Down 2-0 early, the TinCaps were quiet until they manufactured a run in the eighth. But, the would-be game-tying run was thrown out at the plate in the ninth, and Bowling Green (32-16 second half, 69-48 overall) survived to split the four-game series with the TinCaps (20-29, 56-63).
TinCaps starting pitcher Jake Nix (L, 2-6) matched a career-best with six innings, as the former third-round pick allowed two runs on six hits and no walks with three strikeouts. TinCaps reliever Lou Distasio delivered three scoreless innings and only surrendered one hit while striking out four.
The Hot Rods strung together three hits in the top of the second inning and climbed out to a 2-0 lead.
Bowling Green starter Mike Velasquez (W, 7-7) impressed over 5.2 shutout innings in which he fanned six.
The TinCaps punched across a run in the eighth to trim the deficit to 2-1. Catcher Hunter Redman walked to load the bases, and second baseman Peter Van Gansen scored when designated hitter Tyler Selesky coaxed a one-out walk.
With the bases still loaded, though, left fielder Tyler Moore bounced into a 1-2-3 rally-ending double play.
With runners at first and second and one out in the ninth, Van Gansen vaulted a blooper to right-center field for a single. Hot Rods right fielder Manny Sanchez bounced a throw to the plate to nab speedy TinCaps center fielder Rod Boykin. With runners at second and third, Hot Rods righty Yoel Espinal (S, 3) struck out TinCaps third baseman Carlos Belen.
Fort Wayne will welcome in Dayton for a series starting Monday at 7:05 p.m.