Midland, Michigan (Indiana's NewsCenter) – The Great Lakes Loons used an offensive onslaught Friday of two runs in the eighth inning and a walk-off single in the ninth, as they defeated the Fort Wayne TinCaps by a 5-4 final. Fort Wayne (3-5) held a two-run advantage through five innings, but could not hang on for the victory. The TinCaps bullpen surrendered four runs, three of them earned, in the final four innings as Great Lakes climbed back to even the four-game series at one game apiece.
Fort Wayne scored the first two runs of the night, as Travis Whitmore plated Alberth Martinez on a sacrifice fly and Zach Kometani scored Donavan Tate with an RBI single, both in the third inning. The 2-0 lead didn’t last long, as in the bottom of the inning, Noel Cuevas used an RBI groundout to cut the Great Lakes (3-5) deficit to 2-1.
The TinCaps jumped back out to a two-run cushion in the fourth inning, though. Back-to-back one-out doubles by Kyle Gaedele and Justin Miller extended the Fort Wayne advantage to 3-1.
TinCaps starter Joe Ross, in his second Midwest League outing, went five innings, allowing one earned run, three hits, and struck out six without walking a batter. He did not factor in the decision.
Justin Hancock came on to pitch the bottom of the sixth for the TinCaps and allowed one run to score, cutting the advantage to 3-2. The score remained that way until the eighth, when the Loons tacked on two more runs. Hancock retired the first two batters of the inning, but Robert Eisenbach was called upon from the Fort Wayne bullpen to record the third out of the inning, after a walk was issued by Hancock. Eisenbach surrendered a run-scoring triple to Scott Schebler, which knotted the game at three. The TinCaps lefty walked the next two batters, and was then replaced by Colin Rea.
Rea allowed an infield single to Justin Boudreaux, which scored Schebler from third, giving the Loons a 4-3 lead. Rea worked his way out of the inning, and Fort Wayne came up in the top of the ninth down by one run.
Jace Peterson, who finished the night three for five with two runs scored, reached on an error by Great Lakes second baseman Jesus Arredondo. Peterson stole second, and Donavan Tate then grounded out, which allowed Peterson to advance to third. Travis Whitmore followed with a triple, which tied the game at 4. The TinCaps could not knock Whitmore in, and in the bottom of the ninth, the game turned in favor of Great Lakes.
With Rea (0-2) still on the mound, Arredondo reached on a one-out single to center field. With two outs, Arredondo stole second base, and the throw from Austin Hedges escaped into shallow left-center field. An error was charged to shortstop Jace Peterson on the play, as Arredondo scampered to third. Joseph Winker then lined a game-winning single to right field, and Great Lakes secured the 5-4 victory.
Loons reliever Yimi Garcia (1-0) pitched one inning of relief for the win.
Game three of the four-game series will take place at 2:05 PM on Saturday afternoon. The TinCaps will send righty Matt Wisler to the mound against Loons righthander Gustavo Gomez.
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