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TinCaps

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Championship
TinCaps vs. Wisconsin
(Best of 5)
Game 1: Wisconsin 3, Fort Wayne 2 (10 inn.)
Game 2: Fort Wayne 5, Wisconsin 1
Game 3: 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Parkview Field
Game 4: 5:05 p.m. Sunday at Parkview Field
Game 5: 7:05 p.m. Monday at Parkview Field *
* – If necessary
Photos by Sharon Cekada | The Post-Crescent
Wisconsin’s Brandon Macias slips while trying to tag out Fort Wayne’s Tyler Stubblefield at third base on Thursday.
TinCaps 5, Wisconsin 1

’Caps pull even in finals

Pitching gem leads to Game 2 win; series headed to Fort Wayne

Wisconsin’s Carlos George, right, watches as Yadiel Rivera turns a double play, forcing out Fort Wayne’s Mike Gallic in Grand Chute, Wis.

– Fort Wayne pitcher Colin Rea was getting a little anxious.

The start of Game 2 of the Midwest League championship series was delayed an hour because of rain.

When the tarp came off the field, Rea was more than ready to go.

Rea and two relievers limited the Timber Rattlers to two hits as the TinCaps won 5-1 in front of 602 fans Thursday at Fox Cities Stadium.

“I thought my two-seamer was working well today,” Rea said. “Just getting ahead, throwing strikes and letting our defense work. They made a lot of great plays.

“We got on top early, so that helped. I just tried to stay aggressive for the most part.”

The win evens the series at 1. Game 3 of the best-of-five series is 7:05 p.m. Saturday at Parkview Field.

“We said, ‘We need to go back to Fort Wayne tied at 1,’ ” said Tyler Stubblefield, who had an RBI double and scored a run. “Colin showed up and gave us an unbelievable pitching performance and our bats were able to come alive when we needed them.”

Rea surrendered one run on two hits and won his second game of the postseason. Rea was the winning pitcher in the series-clinching victory against Lake County, pitching three relief innings.

“Just being aggressive and throwing strikes early in the count,” Rea said of his performance. “That helped getting a lot of ground balls.”

He struck out three and walked two.

“He was great today,” Fort Wayne manager Jose Valentin said. “Throwing strikes. He was getting outs quick in the count. He was mixing the pitches, fastball in and out, change-up, breaking ball. He had everything working today.”

Offensively, Lee Orr and Duanel Jones hit home runs for Fort Wayne.

Orr’s solo home run to center field gave the TinCaps a 1-0 lead in the second inning.

“I was just having a good at-bat,” Orr said. “I saw the ball off of (Wisconsin starter Chad Pierce) really well, and he made a mistake over the middle of the plate and I put a good swing on it.”

It was his fourth home run of the postseason.

“Lee has been great all postseason,” Valentin said.

Wisconsin tied the game on a solo home run by Nick Ramirez with two outs in the fourth inning.

The TinCaps bounced right back in the fifth. Kyle Gaedele led off the inning with a double. Stubblefield followed with another double. Gaedele scored on the hit, giving the TinCaps a 2-1 lead.

Stubblefield moved to third on a throwing error by shortstop Yadiel Rivera. He scored on a sacrifice fly by Jace Peterson.

Jones hit a two-run home run in the ninth inning to give the TinCaps some breathing room.

“That was huge,” Orr said. “Going into the ninth, you didn’t want to be up just two. It made it more comfortable. It was a big hit.”

Johnny Barbato pitched the eighth and Matt Stites the ninth, striking out Ramirez to end the game and even the series.

“It was a huge win to get the momentum back in our favor going home,” Orr said. “We have three games there, just win two of them.”

Note: Travis Jankowski suffered a rib fracture and will miss the rest of the series, according to Valentin. The outfielder was hit by a pitch in the top of the first. He left the game when the inning ended.

lpope@jg.net

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