COMSTOCK PARK- The West Michigan Whitecaps used extra-base power and solid pitching to roll past the Fort Wayne TinCaps, 8-2, on Friday afternoon at LMCU Ballpark.
The Whitecaps collected five extra-base hits, including back-to-back triples. Those big hits gave the Whitecaps the early lead and control of the contest. Meanwhile, starting pitcher Carlos Pena allowed just two hits while accumulating four strikeouts through four shutout innings.
West Michigan took the lead in the first inning as Chris Meyers cleared the bases with a three-run double that delivered the ‘Caps a 3-0 lead.
The ‘Caps added to their advantage in the second as Justice Bigbie and Danny Serretti teamed up for back-to-back triples before an RBI-single by Jace Jung increased the lead to 5-0.
Fort Wayne responded in the fifth inning as catcher Juan Zabala roped a two-run double to make it 5-2.
West Michigan added valuable insurance in the fifth and sixth innings as Eduardo Valencia lifted a sacrifice fly before Ben Malgeri blasted a two-run home run, his second home run in as many games. That extended the lead to 8-2.
Fort Wayne failed to mount a comeback as Chavez Fernander, Bryce Tassin, and RJ Petit combined for three shutout innings and secured the series win.
The Whitecaps improve to 2-0 while the TinCaps fall to 0-2. ‘
Fernander (1-0) pitched one scoreless inning and collected the win out of the bullpen thanks to a scoreless inning, while Fort Wayne starter Victor Lizarraga (0-1) suffered his first loss. He allowed five runs through 2.2 innings of work.
Malgeri has hit home runs in back-to-back games for the first time in his professional career.
The first series of the 2023 regular season concludes on Saturday afternoon as the Whitecaps host the TinCaps at 2:00 pm.
Righty Keider Montero makes his 2023 regular season debut on the mound against the TinCaps’ Adam Mazur.
Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Nate Wangler begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 1:45 pm. Get your tickets for all 2023 home games now at www.whitecapsbaseball.com.