EASTLAKE, Ohio – Brad Zunica broke a 4-4 tie in the top of the eighth inning with a solo home run pulled to right-center field to lead the TinCaps to a 5-4 win over the Lake County Captains (Cleveland Indians) on a muggy Tuesday night at Classic Park.
For the 21-year-old first baseman, it was his team-leading ninth home run of the season, and his third hit of the night. Zunica’s homer off Henry Martinez (L) stood as the game-winner as righty Hansel Rodriguez (W) — in his first relief appearance of the season as he transitions from the rotation — pitched a perfect eighth and ninth.
This was a back-and-forth affair.
Fort Wayne (24-41) took a 1-0 lead in the second with a solo homer from third baseman Hudson Potts — his second in as many nights. Lake County (23-41), though, tied the game in the third and sprung in front with a pair of solo shots from Emmanuel Tapia and Conner Capel, back-to-back, in the fourth. That was against TinCaps starter Adrian De Horta, who settled down after that to complete six quality innings.
Captains starter Luis Jimenez struck out a career-high 11 in his six innings, but his defense failed him in the sixth, when they committed two of their five errors on the night, leading to a pair of unearned runs to tie the game, 3-3. The game-tying hit was a Zunica two-out, opposite-field double to left.
With two outs in the top of the seventh, Fort Wayne second baseman Reinaldo Ilarraza hit a go-ahead single to center against Rodriguez that plated second baseman Nate Easley that made it 4-3. Lake County equalized in the home seventh with another solo long ball by Junior Soto off Rodriguez.
The victory moved the TinCaps ahead of the Captains in the Midwest League Eastern Division standings.