MIDLAND, Mich. – The Fort Wayne TinCaps jumped out to an early lead and rallied late to beat the Great Lakes Loons (Los Angeles Dodgers affiliate) in 10 innings on Friday night, 8-7, at Dow Diamond.
The TinCaps (38-44) initially poured it on, jumping out to a 5-0 lead in the top of the first. After Fort Wayne loaded the bases against Loons starter Jesus Vargas, third baseman Zack Mathis pounded a grand slam far beyond the right field wall. The blast was Mathis’ second home run in eight games as a TinCap, and was Fort Wayne’s third grand slam of the year.
Immediately following, second baseman Ethan Skender hit his second home run of the year out to left field. It was the first time that two TinCaps hit back-to-back home runs since Brad Zunica and Marcus Greene, Jr. did it on September, 10, 2017 in a Midwest League Eastern Division Series playoff game at Dayton.
In the second inning, the Loons (45-37) started to mount their comeback. After a leadoff triple from third baseman Brandon Lewis, center fielder Jonny DeLuca drove him in with a double.
An inning later, the same Great Lakes tandem delivered. Lewis drove a run in with a single, and DeLuca ripped a two-run triple down the right field line to drive Lewis and designated hitter Carson Taylor in and cut the TinCaps lead to one.
The Loons tied the game at five on a solo home run from catcher Ryan January in the fourth, and took a 7-5 lead in the fifth on run-producing hits from Taylor and yet-again, Brandon Lewis. The Dodgers No. 25 prospect’s third hit of the night brought him to a home run shy of the cycle.
After seven unanswered runs, Fort Wayne forged a response to equalize. A two-out error from the Loons preceded TinCaps center fielder Reinaldo Ilarraza lacing a two-run single to right to plate two unearned runs and knot the game at seven apiece.
Pitching stood pat through the ninth, highlighted by TinCaps reliever Edwuin Bencomo firing two scoreless frames, including stranding the bases loaded in the bottom of the eighth.
The game went to extra innings tied, 7-7. With Tirso Ornelas automatically placed at second base to open the 10th, Mathis lined his third hit of the night into left field to advance him to third. Then, Skender scored Ornelas with a sacrifice fly out to center field.
In the bottom of the inning, TinCaps reliever Austin Smith loaded the bases with two walks, but struck out January and got Dodgers No. 6 prospect Andy Pages to fly out to end the game.
Next Game: Saturday, August 7 @ Great Lakes (7:05 p.m.)
· – Fort Wayne Probable Starter: LHP Danny Denz (High-A Central Pitcher of the Week)
· – Great Lakes Probable Starter: LHP Alec Gamboa
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