Lansing, Michigan (Indiana's NewsCenter) – A three-run seventh inning against Fort Wayne reliever Justin Hancock allowed the Lansing Lugnuts to take a late lead and defeat the TinCaps 5-1 on Thursday night at Cooley Law School Stadium. Fort Wayne, held hitless through the first six innings of the game, managed three hits in the loss, which ended their three-game winning streak.
Lansing (28-12) starter Noah Syndergaard pitched four innings and surrendered only a walk while striking out three. Against the Texan righthander, Fort Wayne (19-22) had just two men reach base. Travis Whitmore got aboard on a Syndergaard error in the second inning and Tyler Stubblefield walked to lead off the fourth.
Cody Hebner started for Fort Wayne and twirled five scoreless innings to begin his night. He faced trouble in the sixth, allowing a run on a sacrifice double play off the bat of Andrew Burns. Burns flied the ball to center with one out, Jonathon Berti on third and Kenny Wilson on second. Berti tagged and scored after Kyung Min-Na made the catch, and the throw came in to third base. Wilson was caught in between second and third and was eventually tagged out by Duanel Jones to end the inning.
Fort Wayne’s offensive struggles continued into the fifth and sixth as reliever Anthony DeSclafani struck out the side in both frames. In the seventh, Donavan Tate tallied the first single of the game for the TinCaps off of DeSclafani. Whitmore followed with a single to right-center, moving Tate to third. Jones came up next and hit a sacrifice fly to center field, making it 1-1. The TinCaps would not score again.
Hancock’s two-inning outing began in the seventh as he gave up a home run to leadoff hitter K.C. Hobson. Leading 2-1, Lansing continued to attack with a triple from catcher Carlos Perez. Kevin Pillar walked, and Kevin Patterson then grounded out, scoring Perez from third and making it 3-1 Lugnuts. Kellen Sweeney singled later in the inning to score Markus Brisker and give Lansing a 4-1 lead. The home team tacked on one more run in the eighth against Hancock (0-3) to make it 5-1.
Hancock allowed four runs in two innings, walked a season-high four batters and struck out two.
Lansing’s Brandon Berl surrendered a single and two walks to Fort Wayne, loading the bases in the ninth, but the TinCaps did not score.
The rubber match of the three game set is scheduled for Friday night at 7:05. The scheduled starters are Frank Garces for Fort Wayne and David Rollins for Lansing.
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