South Bend, IN – Like a greased watermelon on a hot summer day, a lead was something the Fort Wayne TinCaps could not hang on to Sunday in South Bend. The TinCaps surrendered leads of 4-2, 6-5, and 7-6 as they lost 11-7 on a walk-off grand slam in 11 innings at Four Winds Field in the third game of a four-game series.
Jorge Guzman gave up a grand slam to Silver Hawks right fielder Styker Truhan to end a four-hour twelve-minute marathon game, which had been going back and forth since the TinCaps took the lead in the eighth inning.
With Fort Wayne trailing, 5-4, Dustin Peterson hit a home run to put his team in front, 6-5. After a blown save by Nick Mutz, who allowed an unearned run, in the bottom of the ninth, Peterson came through with an RBI double in the top of the 10th inning to make it 7-6, Fort Wayne.
With Walker Weickel on the mound for Fort Wayne (5-5, 35-44), the Silver Hawks did not take much time to inflate his ERA, which was 6.06 to start the day. Daniel Palka, the third batter Weickel faced, hit a double to right to score Andrew Velazquez, who had singled. The base hit by Velazquez marked the 59th straight game in which he has reached base, which is the longest streak in the Midwest League. The second longest streak in the league belongs to Fort Wayne’s Jake Bauers at 30 games.
South Bend (5-5, 45-34) went down, 2-1, in the top of the second when both Adolfo Reina and Josh VanMeter had RBI singles. Reina worked through a 14-pitch fight with starter Blayne Weller to earn his base hit. The one-run lead was short-lived, as a Ryan Gebhardt RBI groundout tied the game in the bottom of the second. Following the leadoff double he surrendered to start that inning, Weickel went on to retire the next nine batters he faced.
His otherwise strong outing came undone in the fifth when he gave up a three-out home run to Andrew Velazquez, which vaulted South Bend to a 5-4 lead, and vaulted Weickel’s ERA to 6.32 through 15 starts.
Peterson’s shot, his seventh of the year, put him solely in second place behind team leader Ryan Miller, who has eight. Silver Hawks reliever Will Locante was given the win (3-0), while Guzman (1-1) took the loss.
The loss also ended a streak of 106 straight games with a win when leading entering the ninth inning for the TinCaps. The streak stretched back to July 7, 2012.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for Monday night at 7:05 p.m. The scheduled starters are Erik Cabrera for Fort Wayne and Sean Furney for South Bend. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380 and TinCaps.com.