FORT WAYNE – TinCaps starter Walker Weickel tallied a season high in strikeouts, and his teammates scored four runs in the first two innings to spur a 4-1 win against Lake County on Thursday at Parkview Field.
Weickel threw five shutout innings for Fort Wayne (41-24) and struck out five. He also gave up three hits on 88 pitches (58 for strikes).
It was the second straight scoreless start for Weickel, who picked up his first win in a TinCaps uniform on June 13. The 19-year-old is 2-3 this season.
I’ve really just been trying to pretty much cancel all thoughts out of my head when I’m on the mound, the right-hander said. My first couple starts of the season, I kind of got caught up with mechanical issues and kind of getting caught up in the moment. These past couple outings, I’ve just been focusing on attacking hitters and letting nothing else come in my mind.
The Captains (21-42) didn’t score until the seventh, when an error by second baseman Maxx Tissenbaum put a runner on third for reliever Matthew Shepherd. A single by Lake County third baseman Erik Gonzalez gave the Captains their only run.
His numbers kind of look bad, but if you look when he pitches, he’s always going to give you five or six innings, keep the game close, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said of Weickel. It’s been tough, but you know, the way he finished the first half, he could be our best pitcher in the second half.
The TinCaps shut the door after that unearned run.
Leonel Campos got his sixth hold, and Chris Nunn got his fourth save. In all, Fort Wayne struck out 11 hitters and gave up seven hits and three walks.
At the plate, Fort Wayne did all of its work early.
After getting just five hits in an 11-0 loss Wednesday, the TinCaps tallied six hits and four runs in the first two innings. Lake County starter Luis DeJesus gave up nine hits in his six-inning start, including five doubles.
Our offense, we scored four runs early, which I think made him more comfortable on the mound, Valentin said.
Tissenbaum had two of those doubles, while shortstop Diego Goris, right fielder Brian Adams and designated hitter Mallex Smith also nabbed extra-base hits in the first five innings.
A crowd of 7,157 came to Parkview Field for the TinCaps’ final home game of the first half. The win boosted Fort Wayne to 25-11 at home, the most home wins in the Midwest League as of Thursday.
The TinCaps drew 172,702 in paid attendance in the first half.
Weickel wants to continue to impress those fans.
I think it’s something to play off of, not only me individually but as a team, Weickel said. We still got half a season left, so the possibilities are still pretty much endless.