EASTLAKE, Ohio – The bottom of the second started with a fielding error by Fort Wayne second baseman Tyler Stubblefield.
It only got worse from there for the TinCaps.
Lake County scored five runs in the second on the way to a 7-4 victory in Game 2 of the Eastern Division championship series Sunday in front of 789 fans at Classic Park. The best-of-three series is tied at 1. Game 3 is at 7 p.m. today at Classic Park. The winner advances to the Midwest League championship series.
That was a bad inning for us, Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said. We should have been out of the inning. Our defense let (Fort Wayne starting pitcher Erik Cabrera) down. And when you make a mistake, they make you pay.
The night started well for the TinCaps. Austin Hedges knocked in Kyle Gaedele with a double in the top of the second to give Fort Wayne an early lead.
The lead didn’t last long.
Nine batters came to the plate for the Captains during the big bottom of the second.
Jake Lowery reached on the error by Stubblefield. Bryson Myles followed with an infield hit. Stubblefield got a glove on the grounder and knocked it down but didn’t have a play. Tyler Naquin singled, bringing home Lowery to tie the game.
Alex Lavisky then hit a grounder to third. Duanel Jones got to the ball, but didn’t have a play. The infield hit loaded the bases for Joey Wendle, who then hit a sacrifice fly to center.
Jose Ramirez singled to center, bringing in Naquin. With two outs, Jordan Smith hit a grounder just past a diving first baseman Lee Orr and down the right-field line for a two-run triple to make it 5-1.
We just kept giving them chances until the big hit came, Valentin said.
Fort Wayne fell behind six runs in Game 2 of the opening round series against Lansing only to come back and win 9-6. Orr hit a solo home run in that game to start the rally.
He hit another solo home run in the fifth inning Sunday to get the TinCaps within 6-4.
It was tough to see the first couple of at-bats. (Lake County starting pitcher Elvis Araujo) is a taller guy and the batter’s eye is kind of short, so it kind of blended in with the sky, Orr said. When it got darker and they had the lights on, I felt like I could see the ball a lot better. He just made a mistake over the heart of the plate and I put good wood on it.
Later in the fifth, the TinCaps placed runners on first and third with two outs. Mike Gallic lined out to right field to end the inning.
Mike hit a rocket right to the right fielder, Hedges said. That’s just bad luck. If that ball falls, who knows, that could have changed the entire game.
The TinCaps only had two singles in the final four innings, setting the stage for the winner-take-all Game 3.
It’s one of those games, you just have to forget about it, Valentin said. The good thing about it is we have one more chance. Hopefully, we’ll play better.