How it Happened
TinCaps starter Angel Acevedo was solid through the first three innings, getting ahead of almost every hitter with a first-pitch strike and consistently pitching inside. He induced a bevy of ground balls through the first three innings and kept the Dragons off the scoreboard into the fourth, as Dayton starter Jared Solomon did the same to the TinCaps.
In the top of the fourth, however, Acevedo lost his command just a little bit. He hit Miguel Bautista with a one-out fastball and Bautista stole second on a curveball that bounced in the dirt. With two outs, Bren Spillane lined a soft single to center field and Bautista raced around to score the game's first run.
The Dragons tacked on the fifth inning with another similarly manufactured run. Designated hitter Jay Schuyler led off with a single and then moved up on a pair of groundball-outs. With two away, a slider in the dirt got past catcher Blake Hunt for a wild pitch and Schuyler race home. Hunt pounced on the ball quickly and Acevedo covered the plate, but the throw was just a little late and the run scored to make it 2-0.
The TinCaps continued to struggle into the late innings, but in the eighth put together their only real rally of the night. Against reliever Julio Pinto, Grant Little led off with a sharp single to left and Dwanya Williams-Sutton walked to put two on with nobody out. After a ground out to third moved the runners up 90 feet, Justin Lopez walked to fill the bases. Two batters later, Luis Almanzar stepped to the plate with the game on the line. The third baseman launched a fastball deep into the night, driving it well over the left-field wall for a go-ahead grand slam and 4-2 TinCaps lead.
Jose Quezada had a chance to nail down the save, but was unable to do so. His command was a little off and he gave up a sharp leadoff single to Pabel Manzanero. Bren Spillane hit next and on a 2-0 count, Quezada left a fastball right over the middle of the plate, as though on a tee. Spillane didn't miss it, ripping a line drive that stayed high enough to get over the left-field fence in a hurry. The ball left Spillane's bat at 108 mph and when it came down it knotted the game at 4. It was Spillane's first homer of the year.
Quezada loaded the bases on two walks and a single after the home run, but settled down and struck out two in a row on blazing fastballs to keep the game tied and get Fort Wayne to the bottom of the ninth with a chance to walk off.
In that bottom of the last, Xavier Edwards reached on a one-out ground ball to short when the throw pulled the first baseman off the bag. Though it was an error, Edwards' speed played a significant role in forcing the shortstop to rush. The speedy Edwards' presence on base distracted pitcher Connor Bennett, forcing him to throw over multiple times. Edwards moved to second on a ground ball back to the pitcher, bringing Williams-Sutton to the plate with the winning run in scoring position and two away.
Williams-Sutton worked the count to 2-1 and then smoked a long fly ball in the right-center gap. Right-fielder Michael Siani made a valiant effort and appeared to get a glove on the ball on a diving stab, but the ball fell and Edwards scored the winning run in a 5-4 victory. Williams-Sutton got a Gatorade bath on the infield for Fort Wayne's first ninth-inning win of the season.
Player of the Game: Luis Almanzar
Almanzar went 2 for 4 with the grand slam and a single. He's already matched his career-high home run total and has a hit in all four games this season. The grand slam went 368 feet and was 97 mph off the bat.
Facts and Figures
The TinCaps (4-2) have won two in a row for the first time this season and clinched no worse than a series split. ... Acevedo went five innings and gave up two runs on three hits. He struck out two and walked none, the third of Fort Wayne's first six starters to walk none. ... The TinCaps' first six starters have combined to strike out 37 and walk five. Acevedo threw first-pitch strikes to the first eight batters he faced. ... The TinCaps struck out 14 times. The Dragons retired 10 straight TinCaps between the fourth and the seventh. The TinCaps didn't have a hit between the fourth and the eighth. ... Little went 3 for 5, his second multi-hit game of the season. He has a four-game hitting streak going. ... Dayton's Mariel Bautista got hit by a pitch twice. ... Fort Wayne's Nick Gatewood went 0 for 4 with four strikeouts.
The TinCaps are back in action for the third of this four-game series against Dayton. It will be the first day game of the season, with first pitch at 11:05 a.m. Fort Wayne will send ace Ryan Weathers (0-0, 0.00) to the mound for his second start of the season after he struck out nine in five scoreless innings in his 2019 debut.