With two outs in the eighth inning, TinCaps’ manager Anthony Contreras went to reliever Lou Distasio, who two nights ago struck out the side, who then proceeded to give up a three-run home run to RF Reydel Medina to dead center field to give Dayton a 3-1 lead.
The Dragons hit another home run off of Distacio in the ninth to open the inning. Fort Wayne came back in the bottom of the inning to stage a brief rally when 3B Kodie Tidwell scored on a wild pitch to cut the lead to 4-2 before LF Jhonatan Pena ended the game with a strikeout.
Despite the loss from a development standpoint the night was a success. The star of the game was Smith who not only held the opposition scoreless for five innings but didn’t walk a batter with a fastball that sat 92-93 and touched 95 a few times to go along with six strikeouts.
“Austin is a big strong kid and the key for him is just to get in an athletic position so he can let himself fire the ball,” said TinCaps’ manager Anthony Contreras. “I think that and just getting ahead early in the count, which is something we have been preaching to him all year really helped his confidence.”
Smith’s strong outing was followed by Morris, who was in Extended Spring and in Double-A San Antonio earlier this year, is attempting to resurrect his career coming out of the bullpen. Morris was nearly equally effective, before allowing a pair of back-to-back singles before being replaced by Distacio.
“He had an injury that limited his velocity, but he’s starting to get it back and now he’s throwing his off-speed for strikes,” Contreras said on Morris’ performance. “He had a good outing today and I was impressed by the way he kept his composure.”
Earlier in the game, the other TinCaps’ run that was generated by SS Ruddy Giron, who singled in the fourth inning, stole second and advanced to third on Tidwell’s ground out. DH Carlos Belen, who hit the ball well yesterday, just missed a home run to right-center but it was enough to bring Giron home.
TinCaps Notes: The big club traded Closer Fernando Rodney to the Miami Marlins in exchange for Low-A pitcher RHP Chris Paddack, who will join Fort Wayne on the road. Paddack, 20, an eighth round draft pick in last year’s draft has been particularly effective in Low-A Greensboro with a 2-0 record and a 0.95 ERA. The six-foot-four Texas has not allowed a hit in his last three starts (15 innings) and has held the opposition to a .098 batting average.