FORT WAYNE, Ind. — Dustin Peterson says he likes hitting against Matt Dermody. It’s easy to understand why.
At Parkview Field on May 23, Fort Wayne’s third baseman cranked a three-run homer against the Lansing left-handed starter. On Thursday night at Parkview Field — in front of a standing-room only crowd of 8,010 — the 19-year-old from Arizona crushed a grand slam to left-center field off the southpaw to turn a 2-1 game in the bottom of the fifth inning to a 6-1 contest. The TinCaps cruised from there to beat the Lugnuts, 7-2.
Peterson’s granny was extra sweet considering that in his last at-bat against Dermody three weeks ago, he was hit in the head. Dermody was ejected from that game and Peterson said afterward he thought he was hit intentionally.
Personal rivalries aside, Thursday’s win ended a four-game losing streak for Fort Wayne. Starter Ronald Herrera helped make it possible by not allowing an earned run in five innings.
Lansing (31-35) took a first inning lead on an unearned run driven in by L.B. Dantzler. After that, though, it was all TinCaps.
In 112 games with Fort Wayne last year, Luis Tejada hit two home runs. Through 38 games this season, he was homerless. But in the home third, Tejada blasted his second home run in his last three games to tie the contest, 1-1.
The TinCaps took a 2-1 advantage in the bottom of the fifth when Ronnie Richardson drew a bases loaded walk. That kept the bags full for Peterson to hit the 43rd grand slam in Fort Wayne’s 21-plus-year franchise history, and first in 2014. An RBI double by Tejada in the sixth inning upped the home team’s lead to 7-1.
Justin Livengood replaced Herrera for the sixth and worked the final four innings to earn the first save of his professional career. The only run Livengood allowed came with two outs in the ninth.
Also of note, Jake Bauers extended the Midwest League’s longest hitting streak to 18 games with a single. Meanwhile, Tejada, who hit eighth, wasn’t the only batter at the bottom of the order who had a productive night. River Stevens collected two hits in the seven-hole, as did Josh VanMeter batting ninth. Peterson’s four runs batted in raised his season tally to 52 – most in the Midwest League. His big night came with his parents and girlfriend in attendance from the Grand Canyon State.
Fort Wayne (29-37) begins its final series of the first half on Friday night at Parkview Field against the Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays affiliate). Kyle Lloyd is set to start for the TinCaps against Chris Kirsch.