Comstock Park, MI – Despite the promise of playing just 14 innings in a day-night doubleheader at Fifth Third Ballpark Saturday, the TinCaps and Whitecaps played a full 18 anyway as they split the sunlight-moonlight twinbill. Fort Wayne won game one, 5-4, but lost game two, 6-5, on a walk-off base hit in the bottom of the 11th inning.
In the first game the TinCaps overcame a 3-0 deficit, scoring three in the fifth inning and winning it with a two-run top of the seventh. All of the run production came from two players—Dustin Peterson and Fernando Perez. Peterson delivered a two-run double in the fifth, and Perez followed with an RBI single to tie the game. That knocked starter Jonathan Crawford, who started Tuesday’s Midwest League All-Star Classic, out of the game.
West Michigan (2-1, 43-30) reliever Joe Mantiply, who had worked a scoreless sixth frame to extend his scoreless streak to 16 1/3 innings, did not extend that through the seventh inning. He retired Luis Tejada and Josh VanMeter, bringing the TinCaps down to their final out. Ronnie Richardson bunted his way on, and Dustin Peterson, down to his final strike, blooped a single to shallow right, putting the tying and go-ahead runs on base. Perez came through again, this time with a two-run double, giving Fort Wayne (1-2, 31-41) the lead for good. Eric Yardley (1-1) earned the win and Nick Mutz (7) the save.
The Whitecaps scored first in game two against TinCaps starter Kyle Lloyd, and built a 3-0 lead after three innings. Despite facing Midwest League strikeout leader Buck Farmer, who fanned seven through three innings, Fort Wayne pounded out four two-out hits in the fourth. That rally, in which the TinCaps tied the game, was highlights by a Henry Charles two-run triple.
Fort Wayne scored one in the fifth to take a brief lead, but a wild pitch, thrown by newly-added reliever Jorge Guzman, tied the game, 5-5. The doubleheader games were only scheduled to go seven innings, but neither team scored again until the 11th, when a Dustin Peterson error allowed Javier Betancourt to reach base, and he scored on a walk-off single by Raph Rymes.
Sunday’s series finale is scheduled for 1:00 p.m. The scheduled starters are Payton Baskette for Fort Wayne and Austin Kubitza for West Michigan. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380 and TheFanIndiana.com.