DAYTON, Ohio – The Fort Wayne TinCaps pushed across three unearned runs to break a 1-1 tie in the seventh inning and held on to defeat the Dayton Dragons 4-1 on Tuesday night at Fifth Third Field. The two clubs have split the first two games of the series with the rubber match set for Wednesday night.
With the score tied 1-1, Fort Wayne’s Nick Torres opened the seventh with a single off the glove of Dragons shortstop Luis Gonzalez. After a strikeout, Torres advanced to second on an infield groundout. The next batter, Nick Vilter, hit a ground ball to Gonzalez at shortstop. Gonzalez initially fielded the ball but lost the handle, preventing any chance to throw out Vilter at first. Torres never slowed down around third and raced toward the plate. Gonzalez looked toward home and had a play on Torres to end the inning, but he dropped the ball a second time as the run scored to give Fort Wayne a 2-1 lead. The next batter, Trae Santos, hit a ground ball that skipped past Dragons first baseman Gavin LaValley for an error, allowing Vilter to go to third and Santos to go to second. Jose Ruiz then delivered a base hit through the middle to bring in two runs and make it 4-1. The Dragons had base runners in each of their last three innings but could not score.
Dragons starting pitcher Seth Varner was brilliant but came away with no decision. Over six innings, he allowed only two base runners, and one of them reached on an error. Varner retired the last 15 batters he faced after allowing a solo home run to Franmil Reyes leading off the second. Varner walked no one and struck out nine, a team season high for 2015. For the year, Varner has made five starts covering 28 innings without allowing a walk. He has struck out 33.
The Dragons finished with seven hits. Gonzalez and Garrett Boulware each had two.
The loss dropped the Dragons to 14-12 on the year. They are tied for third place, two games behind first place Bowling Green.
The Dragons host the TinCaps in the last game of the three-game series at Fifth Third Field on Wednesday at 7:00 p.m. Mark Armstrong (1-1, 2.31) will pitch for the Dragons against Fort Wayne’s Ernesto Montas (2-1, 3.26).