Fort Wayne, IN -- For the first time since 2009, the TinCaps have swept the South Bend Silver Hawks at Parkview Field. Fort Wayne completed a three-game sweep of South Bend at home Friday night with a 4-3 victory. The victory also marks first time the TinCaps have swept an opponent in the season's second half.
With the game tied, 3-3, in the bottom of the seventh inning, Fort Wayne catcher Rodney Daal scored from third base on a wild pitch by South Bend reliever Henry Garcia (7-2). From there, Joe Church (2-3) and Chris Nunn closed out Fort Wayne's sixth win in its last seven games.
The TinCaps were in position to win late thanks to a strong start by Walker Weickel. The right-hander allowed only one earned run in five innings of work. Weickel matched his career best for strikeouts as a starting pitcher with six.
Nevertheless, it was the Silver Hawks who claimed an early 2-0 lead. All-Star third baseman Brandon Drury belted his 15th home run of the season with two outs and no one on base in the top of the first inning. South Bend (33-27, 77-53) stretched its lead to 2-0 in the top of the second inning with the help of a Fort Wayne (25-35, 68-61) error. Silver Hawks catcher Roidany Aguila began the frame with a leadoff double. After Michael Perez moved Aguila to third base with a fly out to right field, Aguila scored when TinCaps third baseman Gabriel Quintana mishandled a groundball for an error.
Fort Wayne wasted no time, though, in demonstrating resiliency. Shortstop Tyler Stubblefield came through with a two-out, two-RBI single to score Quintana and Luis Domoromo, who both had singled. That tied the game, 2-2.
Later, the speed of Mallex Smith brought the TinCaps a 3-2 lead. The center fielder led off the fifth with a single to right field. Smith then stole both second and third base to up his Midwest League-leading total to 61 on the year. The 20-year-old is four shy of tying the Fort Wayne 20-year franchise record of 65, which is shared by Rymer Liriano (2011) and Jeremy Owens (1999). Following Smith's stolen bases, Reynaldo Bruguera walked and was then picked off first base. But during the rundown to tag Bruguera, Smith scooted home to score the then go-ahead run.
South Bend knotted the game, 3-3, against Church in the top of the sixth. Rudy Flores doubled and came in on a single by Aguila.
The last time the TinCaps swept the Silver Hawks at Parkview Field was from June 25-28 during Fort Wayne's 2009 championship season. Friday was the final regular season meeting between the two sides. Despite being swept, South Bend still won 14 out of 19 contests.
The TinCaps now take their four-game winning streak south to Bowling Green, for a three-game set with the Hot Rods that begins Saturday at 8:05 p.m. Zach Eflin, who has the lowest ERA in the Midwest League since the start of May, starts for Fort Wayne against Bowling Green's Blake Snell. The game can be heard on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.