CLINTON, Iowa – It took 3 hours and 40 minutes. It took 11 innings. And it took some help. But the TinCaps found a way to beat the LumberKings, 6-4, on Saturday afternoon at Ashford University Field on the banks of the Mississippi River. The TinCaps scored on an error in the top of the ninth inning to tie the game, 4-4, and went ahead in the 11th thanks to a Fernando Perez RBI-single.
With one out in the top of the 11th, Josh VanMeter reached base on an error and Ronnie Richardson walked. That set the stage for the 20-year-old Perez to line a single into center field off Rafael Pineda (0-1) to plate VanMeter for what proved to be the winning run. Dane Phillips then drove Richardson in with a groundout for insurance.
But Fort Wayne (3-6) didn’t make things easy for itself Saturday. The Summit City squad squandered two leads, committed three errors, went 4-for-19 with runners in scoring position, and left 14 runners on base. The go
After both sides scored in the first, the LumberKings went up 2-1 in the third. The score stayed that way until the top of the seventh. Right fielder Franmil Reyes gave the TinCaps the lead back with a towering two-run home run to left field that may have ended up in the Mississippi. The longball was the 18-year-old’s second in the last three days.
Fort Wayne couldn’t handle its own prosperity, though. Closer Nick Mutz came into the game for the TinCaps in the bottom of the eighth inning with one out and a runner at first base. Mutz struck out the first batter he faced but then allowed a single to Martin Peguero that put runners on the corners. The number nine hitter, Arby Fields, hit a high-hopper to first baseman Luis Tejada, who flipped the ball to Mutz covering first — except he couldn’t hold onto it. That brought Zach Shank home to tie the game, 3-3, and advanced Peguero to third. The next batter, Ian Miller, hit a grounder to shortstop that Franchy Cordero threw wildly to first, which meant Peguero scored the go-ahead run.
Fortunately for Fort Wayne, Clinton returned the favor in the top of the ninth. Pineda hit Dustin Peterson with one out and gave up a single to Reyes. Perez hit a grounder to shortstop that could’ve been a game-ending double play. Instead, after shortstop Jack Reinheimer tossed the ball to second baseman Lonnie Kauppila for the force at second, Kauppila’s relay to first went awry and VanMeter — who was pinch-running for Peterson — scored all the way from second to knot the game, 4-4.
Tayron Guerrero (2-0) received credit for the win out of the TinCaps’ bullpen. Guerrero, who was one of four relievers used following four innings by starter Yimmi Brasoban, pitched a scoreless 10th and 11th.
Fort Wayne is now 2-1 in extra-inning games — all coming on this road trip. Two of the team’s three wins this season have been in extras. Also of note: Mallex Smith scored twice and stole two bases. He leads all players in Minor League Baseball with 11 in nine games.
The TinCaps conclude their six-game West Division road trip in Clinton on Sunday afternoon at 3:00 in a game that can be heard on The Fan 1380. Right-handed pitcher Tony Rizzotti is scheduled to start for the TinCaps against LumberKings righty Tommy Burns.