GENEVA, Ill. – TinCaps catcher Dane Phillips turned in a 4-for-5 afternoon, including a game-tying home run in the ninth inning, to power the TinCaps to a 10-inning win over the Kane County Cougars Wednesday afternoon, 7-4.
Phillips, who hit five home runs with the TinCaps in 58 games in 2013, came to the plate with one out in the ninth inning, and Fort Wayne trailing, 4-3. Facing reliever Jose Arias, he clobbered a pitch that skied over the wall in right field, tying the game. In the 10th inning, the TinCaps attacked Arias again, with some help from Mother Nature.
With one out, Franmil Reyes hit a lazy fly ball to center field that hung over Jake Hannemann, who fought with the sun while trying to find the ball, and the sun was victorious. The ball plopped onto the grass to his left, and Reyes, hustling all the way, ended up at second base. Fernando Perez followed with an RBI single to left, scoring Reyes. Luis Tejada was later hit by a pitch, and two batters after that, Dane Phillips came through again — this time with a two-run double to left field, stretching Fort Wayne’s advantage to 7-4.
Wednesday’s game started like Tuesday’s with Kane County (3-3) taking a first-inning lead. Fort Wayne (2-4) starter Adrian De Horta gave up a leadoff triple to Hannemann, and he scored on a Ben Carhart sacrifice fly.
The TinCaps entered the game as one of just six teams out of 60 in either Low-A or Advanced-A without a home run, but Jose Carlos Urena ended the drought with a two-run blast in the second inning, giving the TinCaps a 2-1 lead. The Cougars erased that lead in the bottom of the inning, tying the game at two.
The score stayed tied until the sixth when Shawon Dunston, Jr. hit a two-run single against Tony Rizzotti. Fort Wayne’s Perez picked up his first RBI of the season with a run-scoring groundout in the eighth.
Tayron Guerrero (1-0) earned the win with two scoreless innings of relief, and Arias (0-1) was tagged with a blown save and the loss.
The rubber match of the series is scheduled for 12:00 p.m. EDT Thursday at Fifth Third Bank Ballpark. Scheduled starters are Walker Weickel for Fort Wayne and Tyler Skulina for Kane County. The game can be heard on The Fan 1380.