Key Statistics RF Asencio 2-4, 2B, 2 RBIs; 3B Jones 1-3, 2B, 2 RBIs; SS Peterson 1-3, 2B; LHP Garces 6.0 IP 4H 2R 2ER 2BBs 6Ks; LHP Alger (W) 0.2 IP 2Ks; RHP Stites (S) 1.0 IP 3Ks.
FORT WAYNE, Ind. – In The Opening round of the Eastern Division Championship series, the Fort Wayne TinCaps defeated the Lake County Captains, 4-3, in front of 2,310 fans, the largest Midwest League playoff attendance this season. Both Yeison Asencio and Duanel Jones had two RBI, and Leo native Brandon Alger earned his first win in a TinCaps uniform.
Lake County (2-1) took a first-inning lead when leadoff man Jose Ramirez hit a Frank Garces fastball over the fence in right field. Garces settled in to retire the next eight batters in a row.
Fort Wayne (3-0) countered with a first-inning offensive that would put them in the lead for most of the game. Jace Peterson hit a wind-aided, one-out double to left field, which was followed by a Yeison Asencio RBI double to right field, which tied the game at one. Jeremy Baltz then drew a four-pitch walk, bringing Duanel Jones to the plate. Jones flied a ball to right field and Captains right fielder Jordan Smith lost it in the sun, allowing both Asencio and Baltz to score, and Jones to end up at second base having put the TinCaps in front, 3-1.
Garces scattered three hits over the remainder of his six innings. The lefthander walked two and struck out six. He turned things over to Johnny Barbato, who worked a perfect seventh, but allowed a game-tying solo home run to Lake County shortstop Francisco Lindor in the eighth. Barbato left, and Alger struck out back-to-back hitters to end the half-inning.
In the bottom of the frame, Travis Jankowski led off with a double to right, and a Peterson sacrifice bunt moved him to third with one out. Asencio then stepped to the plate, grounded the first pitch he saw to center field to score Jankowski, and the TinCaps had a 4-3 lead. Matt Stites closed out the game in the ninth for his third postseason save in three tries, bringing Fort Wayne one win away from a trip to the Midwest League championship series.
In the three playoff games the TinCaps have played, the pitching staff has struck out 36 batters and walked seven. Fort Wayne has outscored the opposition by an 18-11 margin.
Game two of the Eastern Division championship series is scheduled for Sunday night at 6:05 at Classic Park in Eastlake, Ohio. The scheduled starters are Erik Cabrera for Fort Wayne and Elvis Araujo for Lake County. The game can be heard on 1380 ESPN and ESPNFortWayne.com, with coverage set to begin at 5:45 PM.
Courtesy of Mike Couzens, Media Director of the Fort Wayne TinCaps