Eastlake, OH - In the third game of a four-game series between Fort Wayne and Lake County, the trend of one-run games continued Thursday night with the Captains earning a 3-2, walk-off win against the TinCaps. Fort Wayne led, 2-0, through six-and-a-half innings, but its bullpen could not hold the lead down the stretch.
Fort Wayne (13-25, 56-51) jumped out to an early 2-0 lead in support of starter Max Fried. The team scored once in the first and once again in the second inning, although it left a few chances on the table. The TinCaps began the first by loading the bases with nobody out, but only scored on a Luis Domoromo groundout. Over the next five innings, the TinCaps left three runners in scoring position. Ultimately, the team went two-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
Lake County (19-20, 42-64) was held scoreless by Fried over his six innings of work. Rebounding from a six-walk performance a week ago, Fried fanned four and walked two while scattering five hits. He gave way to Joe Church, who allowed the Captains to tie the game by scoring two runs in the seventh.
Church was relieved by Jorge Guzman, who pitched a 1-2-3 eighth inning, matching Lake County reliever Grant Sides (1-0) pitch for pitch in the game's penultimate frame. Fort Wayne's Mallex Smith hit a two-out double against Sides in the ninth, but Alberth Martinez popped out to right field, once again ending a threat with a runner in scoring position.
In the bottom of the ninth, Todd Hankins, leading off the inning, doubled to left against Guzman. Jorge Martinez, the subsequent batter, swung at a strike-three pitch from Guzman, but the ball evaded catcher Rodney Daal, skittering to the backstop, allowing Martinez to take first and Hankins to advance to third. Guzman induced a groundout to the mound by Nick Hamilton and walked LeVon Washington to load the bases with one out. Dorssys Paulino hit a ground ball to shortstop Tyler Stubblefield who threw home, but Daal could not reel in the throw, and Hankins scored the game-winning run.
Each game of the series has been decided by just one run, with Tuesday's game a 10-9 Lake County win, and Wednesday's a 4-3 decision in favor of Fort Wayne. In both games the TinCaps have lost in the series, they have given up a lead. Tuesday was the largest blown lead of the year, as Fort Wayne surrendered an 8-1 advantage.
The finale of the four-game series is scheduled for Friday evening at 7:00 PM. The scheduled starters are Matthew Shepherd for the TinCaps and Luis Aviles for the Kernels. The game can be heard on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.