EASTLAKE, Ohio – For the second straight game, the Fort Wayne TinCaps lost in the bottom of the ninth inning. On Monday night, it was a walk-off single by Lake County designated hitter Anthony Santander that gave the Captains a 3-2 win in the opener of a three-game series at Classic Park.
Fort Wayne (17-26) and Lake County (14-30) had been tied at two since the sixth inning and Tony Rizzotti (2-2) had encountered little difficulty through the first three innings of his night as he entered the ninth. However as he tried to surpass his career high of three innings of work, he allowed back-to-back hits to Grant Fink and Eric Haase. Santander, who had also singled against the TinCaps righty in the seventh, lofted a ball down the right field line to score Fink from second and end the game.
Rizzotti entered the game after five strong innings from starter Kyle Lloyd. In just his third start of the season, the California-born hurler fanned a career-high eight batters, allowed three hits, two runs, two earned runs, and walked just one. His counterpart, Adam Plutko, went seven innings, fanned seven, walked one, and allowed two runs (one earned), on three hits.
Plutko retired 14 straight batters through the end of the first inning through the fifth, setting the side down in order in the second, third, fourth, and fifth innings. However, before that streak began, Dustin Peterson connected on his second home run in as many nights—a solo shot over the 320-foot marker in left field. Fort Wayne’s 1-0 lead was short-lived, as the Captains’ Claudio Bautista matched Peterson with a solo shot of his own in the third, tying the game. Lake County took the lead on a Bautista double in the fifth. Quickly, the TinCaps had an answer as Josh VanMeter scored on a fielding error in the sixth, tying the game once again.
Ultimately, pitching won the day, as Ben Heller (2-0) relieved Plutko with two scoreless, hitless frames in the eighth and ninth innings. Both teams combined for 23 strikeouts, with TinCaps pitching striking out 12 and Captains pitching 11.
Game two of the set is scheduled for Tuesday afternoon at 1:00 p.m. The starters will be Coby Cowgill for Fort Wayne and Mitch Brown for Lake County. The game can be heard on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.