Fort Wayne, IN – Henry Charles doubled to the left field corner to drive in Ryan Miller from first base with the winning run with no one out in the bottom of the ninth inning as the Fort Wayne TinCaps defeated the Dayton Dragons 5-4 on Tuesday afternoon. The win gave Fort Wayne a sweep of the three-game series and spoiled a Dragons comeback effort in the top of the ninth inning.
With the loss, the Dragons fell one-half game behind West Michigan in the race for the East Division first half wildcard spot, pending the outcome of West Michigan’s game tonight at Bowling Green. There are 18 games remaining to be played in the first half.
South Bend took a 4-3 lead to the ninth inning before the Dragons rallied to tie it. With one out, Dayton’s Carlton Daal lined a single to left field and Brandon Dailey followed with a ground ball single to left to move Daal to second. After pinch hitter Avain Rachal struck out, Jamodrick McGruder hit a 1-2 pitch through the right side of the Fort Wayne infield into right field to drive in Daal and tie the game at 4-4.
But Fort Wayne wasted no time in winning it. Adolfo Reina began the bottom of the ninth by drawing a walk against Dayton reliever Ryan Kemp (1-2). Miller pinch ran for Reina. Charles then belted a liner to the left field corner that allowed Miller to score from first to end the game.
Fort Wayne took a 2-0 lead in first inning on a two-run home run by Franmil Reyes before the Dragons came back to get the lead in the fourth. Sammy Diaz started the Dayton fourth with a double to right field and scored on Sebastian Elizalde’s single to left to make it 2-1. Sean Buckley followed with a two-run home run to left field, his second of the year, to give the Dragons a 3-2 lead.
Fort Wayne tied the game in the bottom of the fourth, scoring on a wild pitch, and then took the lead in the sixth on Charles’ run-scoring single with two outs against Dragons reliever Dan Langfield.
Dragons starting pitcher Nick Routt, making his Midwest League debut, worked five and two-thirds innings, allowing six hits and four runs with three walks and three strikeouts. Routt left the game with the score tied at 3-3 with a runner at first base and two outs in the six inning, but he was eventually charged with the TinCaps fourth run.
The Dragons eight-hit attack was led by Buckley’s two-run home run. Daal was 2 for 3 with a walk and a run scored.
The Dragons fell to 27-23 with the loss while Fort Wayne improved to 22-29.
The Dragons open a big three-game series in West Michigan against the Whitecaps on Wednesday at 6:35 p.m. Sal Romano (3-3, 3.00) will start for the Dragons against West Michigan’s Chad Green (0-2, 3.88). The next Dragons home game is Saturday, May 31 vs. Lansing at 7:00 p.m.
Notes: Daniel Wright, the Dragons scheduled starting pitcher on Tuesday, was promoted to Bakersfield after Monday’s game. Routt replaced him on the roster after being promoted from extended spring training…Dayton’s Phillip Ervin stole his 17th base in 17 tries on the year…The Dragons used two pinch hitters in the 9th inning as they battled to try to avoid the sweep…Buckley has had an extra base hit in each of the four games he has played in since returning from the disabled list, belting two home runs and two doubles with six RBI.