South Bend, IN - With their season on the line, the Fort Wayne TinCaps homered their way to a 5-2 win Monday evening against the South Bend Silver Hawks at Coveleski Stadium. The victory forces a decisive game three Monday night as the TinCaps will try to return to the Midwest League Championship Series for the second consecutive season.
The game was scoreless through the first five innings thanks to the strong pitching of the TinCaps' Colin Rea (1-0) and the Silver Hawks' Rob Coe. Hunter Renfroe, the Padres' first selection in the 2013 draft, hit his first postseason home run in the sixth inning, giving Fort Wayne a 1-0 lead. In the bottom of the same frame, Rea allowed a solo blast to Brandon Drury, the second home run hit by the third baseman in as many days.
That was the only mistake allowed by Rea, who surrendered just three hits over a season-high seven inning. He walked one batter, which was an intentional walk in the fourth inning, and struck out six. This marks the second straight dominant start for Rea in back-to-back postseasons for the TinCaps. On September 13, 2012, in game two of the Midwest League Championship Series, Rea earned a win with seven innings of one-run baseball, allowing two hits.
The game turned in a nine-batter eighth inning for the TinCaps. Alberth Martinez led off with a single against Silver Hawks reliever Henry Garcia (0-1), and Gabriel Quintana followed that with a two-run home run to deep left-center field. Renfroe immediately tripled and was singled home by Luis Domromo, to inrease the lead to 4-1. Later in the frame, Mallex Smith hit a fielder's choice to score Domoromo and make it a 5-1 game. Roman Madrid pitched the bottom of the ninth inning, allowing one run.
Game three is scheduled for Monday night at 7:05 p.m. at Coveleski Stadium. The scheduled starters are Joe Ross for Fort Wayne and Aaron Blair for South Bend. It will be a battle of first-round picks, who both led their teams to victory in the first round of the playoffs. Ross, taken 25th overall in 2011, pitched six shutout innings on Wednesday at Bowling Green, while Blair, selected 36th overall this year out of Marshall University, also pitched six scoreless frames Wednesday in a win at Great Lakes. The game can be heard on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.