FORT WAYNE, Ind. — The fans never left and the TinCaps never gave up. The TinCaps trailed the West Michigan Whitecaps 12-3 entering the bottom of the ninth inning on Friday night at Parkview Field, yet a standing-room only crowd in Downtown Fort Wayne remained. And on Fan Appreciation Night, the TinCaps expressed their thanks by showing their customary never-say-die spirit, only the hole was too deep. Fort Wayne scored six ninth-inning runs and brought the tying run to the on-deck circle, before falling by a final of 12-9.
The crowd of 7,805 was Parkview Field’s 25th of the season and raised the season attendance total to 406,715 — a new regular season franchise record.
First-place West Michigan (40-27, 81-56) raced out to an 8-0 lead with four runs in each of the first two innings.
Dustin Peterson drove in his 79th RBI of the season in the bottom of the second with a double. However, Fort Wayne (30-37, 60-76) would go down by even more after that. The Whitecaps put up one in the fourth and two in the fifth to make it 11-1 midway through.
A Ronnie Richardson RBI single in the fifth and Trea Turner sacrifice fly in the seventh brought the TinCaps within eight at 11-3. Richardson, though, moved from center field to the mound in the top of the ninth and allowed a run to put the Fort Wayne behind 12-3.
Franmil Reyes and Nick Schulz both produced RBI singles, while Jake Bauers plated two with a double, and Ryan Miller hit a two-run homer to re-energize the packed Parkview Field crowd.
Chad Green (6-4) won the game for West Michigan with five innings of work. He struck out eight. Cody Hebner (2-5) started for Fort Wayne and suffered the loss.
The TinCaps travel to Bowling Green for their final regular season series of 2014. The three-game set opens Saturday at 8:05 p.m. with Fort Wayne right-hander Kyle Lloyd facing lefty Chris Kirsch. The game can be heard on ESPN Radio 1380, TinCaps.com, and the TuneIn Radio app.