Manager Jose Valentin said that the stadium's largest crowd provided a boost for the team Thursday night.
“It's nice to play in front of a crowd like that. You can't ask for better than this: a beautiful ballpark and a crowd that loves the game of baseball. I'm happy to see the people here support our team. As a player, that's how I liked to play, with the excitement of a big crowd. Hopefully we can continue to see crowds like this, and even bigger come the playoffs when we'll need the crowd to support us. The stadium and crowd made it feel like playing in a big league field,” the second-year manager said.
The Silver Hawks (45-25, 1-0) knocked home single runs in the second and fourth innings, both charged to Fort Wayne (43-27, 0-1) starter Adys Portillo (0-1) who worked 3 2/3 innings in his second outing with the TinCaps this season.
South Bend's second-inning offense started with a one-out double by catcher Ronnie Freeman. He advanced to third on a wild pitch, and came in to score one batter later. Alex Glenn, the batter following Freeman, singled to first baseman Luis Tejada, and Freeman scored on that same play as Tejada's throw to Portillo, who was covering first, eluded the pitcher.
The second South Bend run came on a Freeman two-out RBI single in the fourth. Fidel Pena had walked, stolen second, and scampered home ahead of a throw from TinCaps center fielder Alberth Martinez.
South Bend starter Blake Perry (4-3) held the TinCaps hitless through the first four innings, despite walking three batters and hitting one in that span. Fort Wayne's first hit was a Martinez RBI double in the fifth, scoring Corey Adamson, who had walked and stolen second. The only other hit by the TinCaps in the game came off of Adamson's bat in the bottom of the ninth inning with two outs. He would not score, as RJ Hively converted his 19th save in 20 tries.
Walker Weickel, who came on in relief of Portillo, allowed a double to Alex Glenn in the top of the fourth, and then proceeded to retire the next sixteen batters in a row. In the process, the 19-year-old Weickel struck out a career-high nine batters, shattering his previous career-best of five, which he had accomplished in his last start.
“It's incredible that these fans of Fort Wayne and the surrounding area continue to fill up Parkview Field and show us support,” Weickel said after the game. “From all the places we've gone, we definitely have the best fans in all of minor league baseball.”
The record crowd of 8,643 breaks the previous mark of 8,577, which was the paid attendance on April 5, 2012, last year's opening night at Parkview Field.
Game two of the three-game series between the TinCaps and Silver Hawks is set for 7:05 p.m. Friday. The scheduled starters are Zach Eflin for Fort Wayne and Brad Allen for South Bend. The game can be seen on XFINITY 81 and heard on The Fan 1380-AM and TheFanFortWayne.com.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps made several roster moves before resuming the second half of the season with South Bend on Thursday night.
Outfielder Wynton Bernard transferred from Fort Wayne to Extended Spring Training. Bernard, 22, played in five games with Fort Wayne, hitting 3-15 (.200) with no homers and three runs batted in.
Outfielder Luis Domoromo transferred from Advanced-A Lake Elsinore to Fort Wayne. Domoromo, 21, has played in 50 games this season with Lake Elsinore, hitting .198 (38-192) with five home runs and 21 runs batted in. Last season, Domoromo, a native of Portuguesa, Venezuela, hit .219 with three home runs and 36 runs batted in with Lake Elsinore. The Padres signed Domoromo as a non-drafted free agent on July 2, 2008. He played in 112 games in Fort Wayne in 2011 as a 19-year-old, hitting .283 with nine home runs and 68 runs batted in. In his five-season, 356-game Minor League Baseball career, Domoromo is hitting .245 with 19 home runs and 159 runs batted in.
Outfielder Jeremy Baltz activated from Fort Wayne's disabled list and transferred to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore. Baltz, 22, had been on the disabled list since June 4, and has not played in a game since May 28. Despite missing the team's final 19 games of the first half, he still finished tied for the team lead in runs batted in with 33. In 43 games, he hit .268 and connected on five home runs.
Pitcher Justin Hancock transferred from Fort Wayne to Advanced-A Lake Elsinore. Hancock, 22, led Midwest League starting pitchers in the first half of the 2013 season with a 1.73 ERA, and worked to a 5-1 record in 12 starts. In 67 2/3 innings, he struck out 44, walked 20 and had a .222 batting average against him. The Defiance, Ohio, native also pitched with Fort Wayne in 2012, going 0-4 with a 6.95 ERA in 13 appearances. Since being selected in the ninth round of the 2011 draft by San Diego, Hancock, in 51 career games (36 starts), is 10-10 with a 3.39 ERA in 207 innings.THURSDAY NIGHT'S BOX SCORE
FORT WAYNE*000* 010*000*—*1*2*2
Velaquez 2b *4*0*0*0
Almadova cf *4*0*0*0
Drury 3b *4*0*0*0
Ruiz ss *3*0*0*0
Smith dh *3*0*0*0
Martinez cf *4*0*1*1
Tissenbaum 2b *2*0*0*0
Phillips c *3*0*0*0
Tejada 1b *4*0*0*0
Burke 3b *4*0*0*0
Domoromo rf *2*0*0*0
Adamson lf *3*1*1*0
E— Burke (FW), Tejada (FW), Velasquez (SB) 2B: Freeman (SB), A. Martinez (FW) SB: Pena CS: Glenn (SB), LOB: SB 4, FW 9 SB: Smith (FW) WP: Portillo (FW)
Perry (W, 4-3)*5*1*1*0*4*3
Winkler (H, 1)*3*0*0*0*1*3
Hively (S, 19)*1*0*0*0*2
Portillo (L, 0-1)*3.2*4*2*1*1*5