FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The TinCaps were on the verge of their sixth straight win at home and a sweep of the Lugnuts on Saturday night at Parkview Field in front of 6,378 fans, but instead, Fort Wayne faltered in a 4-3, 10-inning loss to Lansing. Jason Leblebijian broke a 3-3 tie in the top of the 10th inning with an RBI-triple.
Lansing (24-24) shortstop Dawel Lugo began the 10th against Fort Wayne closer Nick Mutz with a triple to right field. TinCaps right fielder Franmil Reyes pursued the ball in the right field corner, but was unable to make the catch. Mutz buckled down to strike out the next two batters to come close to escaping the precarious spot. However, the number nine hitter, Leblebijian, crushed the first pitch he saw to left-center field for the game-winning hit.
In the bottom of the 10th, Dustin Peterson doubled with one out to provide the TinCaps with hope, but third-placed hitter Fernando Perez struck out and Reyes flew out to the warning track in left-center. Fort Wayne (19-29) is now 4-7 in one-run games in 2014, having lost each of its last five games in such situations. The TinCaps also dropped to 4-3 in extra-inning games on the year. After playing bonus baseball six times in its first 24 games of the season, Saturday was Fort Wayne’s first extra-inning game since April 29.
Before faltering late, the TinCaps held a 1-0 lead through five frames and had a 3-2 edge going into the eighth inning. Jake Bauers put Fort Wayne on the board with a fourth-inning single to score Peterson. The Lugnuts equalized matters in the top of the sixth on an unearned run and scored once more in the seventh to take a lead.
Peterson put the TinCaps back in front in the bottom of the seventh with a two-out, two-run double to plate Luis Tejada and Mallex Smith. Reyes’ second error of the night and the third against Fort Wayne as a team produced a second unearned run to even the game, 3-3, in the top of the eighth.
Similar to the opening game of the series, both teams struggled with runners in scoring position. Lansing went 3-for-13 in those spots, leaving 12 runners on base. Fort Wayne was 2-for-12 in those spots and stranded seven.
Lost in the loss, TinCaps starter Payton Baskette didn’t allow a run in five innings. Lugnuts starter Brad Allen also battled through five innings with just one run allowed. Scott Silverstein registered the win out of the bullpen with 2 1/3 innings, while Griffin Murphy notched the save.
Fort Wayne continues its six-game homestand on Sunday when it welcomes the Dayton Dragons to Parkview Field. The TinCaps will start Kyle Lloyd against Amir Garrett of the Dragons. The 7:05 p.m. contest can be heard on The Fan 1380 and seen on XFINITY Channel 81.