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SOUTH BEND, Ind. – An 11 th inning James Needy wild pitch allowed South Bend’s Ender Inciarte to race home and score the winning run, as the TinCaps lost 4-3 at the hands of the Silver Hawks on Friday night. Fort Wayne’s four-game winning streak came to an end in the loss, but the team still managed a series victory, taking two of three from their in-state rivals.
Friday’s game was dominated in the early innings by strong pitching from both Fort Wayne’s Adys Portillo and South Bend’s Archie Bradley. Portillo retired the first nine batters he faced in order. Bradley, however, encountered trouble in the third. TinCaps center fielder Kyle Gaedele reached on a one-out double, which was followed by a walk for Matt Colantonio. Jace Peterson then doubled, scoring Gaedele to give Fort Wayne (23-25) a 1-0 lead. Two batters later, Casey McElroy connected on a single to score both Colantonio and Peterson, and the TinCaps led 3-0.
Portillo’s success continued through all six innings of his outing. He issued a one-out walk in the fifth to Ryan Court, and allowed a two-out single to Chris Ellison in the sixth. Through six innings, Portillo allowed no runs, while striking out four. He lowered his Midwest League-leading earned run average to 1.48.
In the bottom of the seventh, the score still 3-0 Fort Wayne, Justin Hancock came on to pitch for the TinCaps. The righthander had allowed at least one run in each of his prior four outings, and that streak stretched to five games on Friday night. Hancock surrendered three runs, giving up back-to-back RBI singles to Roidany Aguila and Inciarte. Aguila knocked in two and Inciarte plated one run, and the game was tied at three at the end of seven innings.
The game was without another run until the 11 th , although there were plenty of chances to score from the seventh inning onward. Fort Wayne had at least one baserunner in the 8 th , 9 th , 10 th and 11 th innings but failed to score in each frame. In the ninth, Duanel Jones was thrown out at home trying to score on a base hit by Matt Colantonio. The TinCaps finished the game 2-11 with runners in scoring position and stranded nine men on base.
In the bottom of the 11 th James Needy (2-1) was on the hill for the TinCaps. He entered with two outs in the bottom of the ninth and struck out Ryan Court with two runners on base to send the game to extras.
Needy worked a scoreless 10 th , and in the 11 th retired Aguila for the first out of the inning. Inciarte singled, and Josh Parr then popped out to Casey McElroy for the second out of the inning. With Chris Ellison at the plate, a balk was called on Needy. TinCaps Manager Jose Valentin was ejected while arguing the balk, which allowed Inciarte to move to second. Needy then intentionally walked Ellison, after which the Silver Hawks executed a double steal, putting runners at second and third with two away. With Court at the plate, Needy hurled a wild pitch, and Inciarte scrambled home ahead of a throw from Colantonio, and South Bend (25-23) escaped with a 4-3 victory.
Silver Hawks reliever DJ Johnson (2-2) earned the win, tossing a scoreless top of the 11 th .
Fort Wayne returns home for the start of a four-game series with Bowling Green. The scheduled starters are Colin Rea for the TinCaps and Ryan Carpenter for the Hot Rods. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 PM.