FORT WAYNE, IN - Robert Lara snapped an 0-for-15 post-season slump with a walk-off home run over the left-field wall to deliver a 4-3 win for the Fort Wayne TinCaps over the Great Lakes Loons Monday night at Parkview Field. The victory in Game 3 gives Fort Wayne its first-ever appearance in the Midwest League Championship Series. They will face the Burlington Bees Tuesday night in the best-of-five series.
It was a see-saw game with the TinCaps striking first. Against Loons' ace Aaron Miller, Fort Wayne took the lead in the bottom of the second on Justin Baum's sacrifice fly.
Fort Wayne's ace Simon Castro kept the Caps in the lead until the top of the sixth, when Parker Dalton - given his first start in the post-season - grounded a leadoff single and scored on Anthony Hatch's two-out RBI double to the gap in right-center, tying the game at 1-1.
Each team scored single runs in the seventh and eighth innings, with Fort Wayne countering the Loons in each frame. The Loons took the lead in the seventh when Alfredo Silverio pounded a monster home run over the left-field wall and into a condominium construction site. The TinCaps tied the game in the seventh with the help of a key error. Baum bounced a comebacker to the mound for a tailor-made double play ball. But Loons' reliever Geison Aguasviva threw wildly into center field and Figueroa raced around to score the tying run.
Great Lakes again took a lead in the eighth when Kyle Russell's sacrifice fly to deep center scored Jaime Pedroza to make it 3-2 Loons. That lead didn't last long as Vince Belnome doubled over Nick Buss' head in the bottom of the eighth to score Jaff Decker and make it a 3-3 game.
Both managers turned the game over to their ace closers. St. Clair allowed the Fort Wayne run in the eighth. Brad Brach and St. Clair exchanged scoreless ninth innings, and Brach worked a 1-2-3 10th.
St. Clair faced Lara to begin the bottom of the 10th and delivered a 3-2 pitch that ended the game.
Brach (1-0) was the winning pitcher and St. Clair (1-1) took the loss.
The Loons' conclude the 2009 season setting a franchise record with 81 regular season wins and winning three more in the post-season.
The Great Lakes Loons are the third-year Single-A affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers and members of the Midwest League. For more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com or call 989-837-BALL.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.