South Bend (Indiana's NewsCenter) – In the opener of a three-game series with the South Bend Silver Hawks, the Fort Wayne TinCaps utilized an early offensive attack as they picked up a 7-5 victory. Lee Orr hit his third home run in nine games, and relievers Ruben Mejia, Robert Eisenbach and Daniel Cropper hurled five scoreless innings of relief in the winning effort.
Fort Wayne (22-24) scored the game’s first run with Orr’s second-inning homer. In the bottom of the inning, South Bend (24-22) returned fire with an RBI single by Marc Bourgeois, which tied the game at one.
Silver Hawks starter Taylor Siemens (2-1) allowed the TinCaps to score in the third. Donavan Tate used an infield single to knock in Tyler Stubblefield and put Fort Wayne in front 2-1.
In the fourth inning both teams put up big numbers, with the TinCaps getting things started. Although Mike Gallic and Lee Orr were retired to begin the frame, Fort Wayne began to attack with a Yeison Asencio single to center field. With Austin Hedges up next, Siemens hurled two wild pitches, allowing Asencio to advance to second, and then third. Hedges then singled, scoring Asencio and pushing the lead to 3-1. Duanel Jones came up next, and Siemens uncorked another wild pitch, his third of the inning, and Hedges advanced to second base. Jones followed with a single to center, plating Hedges and making it 4-1. Tyler Stubblefield later reached on an error, and Jace Peterson narrowly missed a home run, hitting a line drive off of the wall in right-center field. That hit scored Jones and Stubblefield, putting the TinCaps up 6-1.
Cody Hebner didn’t have an easy bottom of the fourth, though, as the Silver Hawks responded by sending nine men to the plate and scoring four runs. Hebner left after four innings with his team leading 6-5. The five runs are the most surrendered by the righthander this season.
Ruben Mejia (1-1) followed Hebner and tossed three scoreless innings. Robert Eisenbach worked a perfect eighth, holding the lead at one run.
In the ninth inning, Fort Wayne scored an insurance run on a single by Donavan Tate. The left fielder extended his hitting streak to seven consecutive games, going 2-5 with two runs batted in. Peterson, in his return to the lineup, paced the team with three hits and two runs batted in.
Daniel Cropper worked the ninth for his fourth save in five tries. Cropper has now pitched in three straight games, and is tied with Matt Stites, who is on the disabled list, for the team lead in saves.
Game two of the series is scheduled for Thursday night at South Bend’s Coveleski Stadium. The scheduled starters are Frank Garces for Fort Wayne and Blake Perry for South Bend. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05.
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