GRAND CHUTE, Wis. – A wild pitch thrown by Fort Wayne reliever Luis De La Cruz in the bottom of the 10th inning allowed Wisconsin's Rafael Neda to score from third base, sending the Timber Rattlers to a walk-off, 3-2, win on Wednesday night. Wisconsin now leads the best-of-five championship series, 1-0.
De La Cruz began the 10th inning by allowing a single to Timber Rattlers catcher Rafael Neda. Adrian Williams laid down a sacrifice bunt, moving Neda to second. De La Cruz then walked Brandon Macias, putting runners at first and second with one out. Following a groundout by Chadwin Stang, De La Cruz intentionally walked Ben McMahan, loading the bases. With Nick Ramirez at the plate, a De La Cruz fastball evaded the grasp of catcher Austin Hedges, sending Neda across the plate for the win.
A first-inning wild pitch started the scoring for the Timber Rattlers. 19-year-old Joe Ross, who was making his first start in a TinCaps uniform since May 4th, walked Macias to start the bottom of the first. Macias advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt, and traveled two bases on a wild pitch that skipped past Hedges to the backstop. Wisconsin held that 1-0 lead until the third inning.
Kyle Gaedele led off with a walk against Timber Rattlers starter Jacob Barnes, and proceeded to steal second. He later scored on a Travis Jankowski grounder that got past Ramirez at first. The first baseman was charged with an error. The tie did not last long, as Neda doubled home Max Walla to make it 2-1.
Ross departed after five innings, having allowed two hits, two earned runs, issuing three walks and five strikeouts. James Jones followed with three scoreless innings of relief.
The TinCaps evened the score in the seventh on a two-out hit from Duanel Jones. Austin Hedges made his way aboard on a fielder's choice, and had advanced to second on a wild pitch. Jones tripled to center field to score Hedges and set the score at 2-2.
With the loss, Fort Wayne is now 3-7 in extra-inning contests this season.
Game two of the championship series is scheduled for Thursday afternoon at 1:05 PM. The scheduled starters are Colin Rea for Fort Wayne and Chad Pierce for Wisconsin. The game can be heard on 1380 ESPN and ESPNFortWayne.com. Fans can also watch the game for free on the video board at Parkview Field.
Courtesy of Mike Couzens, Media Director of the Fort Wayne TinCaps>/i>