In the eighth inning, down 6-2, 3b Chris Bisson led of with a single followed by a CF Rico Noel’s first of three doubles on the evening, into the left-center gap. Liriano then doubled home Noel to cut the lead to 6-4.
LF Luis Domoromo struck the big blow with an inside the park home run, albeit with some assistance on an error by the South Bend right fielder, to tie the game.
“They were playing really lethargic and in the fourth inning I called a meeting in the dugout and raised my voice a little,” said Fort Wayne manager Shawn Wooten on the flat play of his team early in the game.
“They came out afterward and played worse, so then I made everyone smile,” laughed Wooten in the clubhouse afterwards.
“Seriously we’ve played 135 games and they are kids, but there is a right way to play the game; win or lose.”
In the bottom of the tenth Noel just missed a walk-off home run when he hit a ball off of the left field wall to lead off the inning. 2b Corey Spangenburg, who was having a miserable night with three strikeouts, followed with a perfectly placed bunt to put runners on third and first with no out. The Silver Hawks then walked Liriano to load the bases with no outs.
With the four, five and six hitters up it appeared to be a given that the game would end but Domoromo and 1b Connor Powers struck out swinging with DH Wes Cunningham hitting an easy grounder to end the inning to let South Bend slide out of the inning.
The TinCaps came back in the eleventh with SS B.J. Guinn walking with one out and Noel came though again with his third double of the game with two outs to send Fort Wayne to victory.
“I gave Rico the day off yesterday he had been pressing a little and he needed a bit of a mental break,” said Wooten.
“And today he really came through.”
Noel, who after a bad first half, has played much better in the second half hitting .280/.361/.349 with 47 stolen bases in 90 games; and has only been caught four times. He finished the day going four for six.
“I kind of got a couple good pitches to hit and let it fly,” said Noel.
“I’m more of a speed guy but if they elevate the ball you have to put a good swing on it.”