Fort Wayne (Indiana's NewsCenter)- The Fort Wayne TinCaps defeated the Lansing Lugnuts, 5-2, Wednesday in the first game of a best-of-three playoff series. Travis Jankowski hit in his 18th straight game, driving in two runs, and James Needy pitched five innings to earn his first-ever postseason victory. With a win in one of the next two games, the TinCaps will advance to the Eastern Division championship series for the second consecutive season.
Fort Wayne (1-0) opened the scoring in the first inning against Noah Syndergaard (0-1), who had not surrendered a run in 16 innings against the TinCaps during the regular season. Yeison Asencio reached base on a two-out infield single, and scored on a Travis Whitmore triple.
Needy (1-0) was taking the mound following a nine-inning complete game at Parkview Field on August 29. The San Diego native retired the side in the first, but allowed single runs in both the second and third innings. Gustavo Pierre doubled home Chris Hawkins in the second, and KC Hobson plated Jason Leblebijian with an RBI double in the third, giving Lansing (0-1) a 2-1 lead.
Syndergaard, who had allowed two runs in his previous 21 innings entering Wednesday’s game, was knocked from the game in the fifth. Kyle Gaedele and Tyler Stubblefield reached base to begin the inning, and Jankowski singled home Gaedele, ending Syndergaard’s night. Jace Peterson followed with a bunt down the third base line, which was fielded by pitcher Shawn Griffith, but his throw to third sailed wide of the bag allowing Stubblefield to score, and giving Fort Wayne a 3-2 lead.
That lead held due to the efficient work of the TinCaps pitching staff. From the fourth inning through the eighth inning, Fort Wayne pitchers stranded two Lansing runners on base in each frame for a total of 12 on the night.
The TinCaps scored on another Jankowski single in the sixth, and once more on a solo home run from Stubblefield in the eighth. Matt Stites earned the save, recording the final four outs of the game.
Game two shifts to Lansing with a scheduled 7:05 pitch Thursday night. The scheduled starters are Matt Wisler for the TinCaps and Justin Nicolino for the Lugnuts.
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