GRAND CHUTE, Wis. – A career-high seven innings from starter Colin Rea helped the TinCaps to a 5-1 victory Thursday afternoon over the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers in game two of the Midwest League championship series. Rea combined with Johnny Barbato and Matt Stites to limit the Timber Rattlers to two hits, as the TinCaps evened the best of five series at one game each.
The Fort Wayne offense sprung to life early in the game with the help of their constant catalyst throughout the postseason, Lee Orr. The first baseman, who led the team with 11 home runs during the regular season, hit a solo home run to center field putting the TinCaps ahead, 1-0 in the second inning. It was the fourth home run in seven playoff games for Orr.
Wisconsin evened the score in the fourth inning on a Nick Ramirez home run. The first baseman took a two-strike pitch over the wall in right-center, which was one of just two hits allowed by Rea in his outing. The Cascade, Iowa, native cruised through his final three innings, allowing just two walks. The only other hit he allowed was a one-out double to Cameron Garfield in the second inning. He struck out three and walked two.
The TinCaps took the lead for good in the fifth inning. Kyle Gaedele doubled off of starter Chad Pierce, and Tyler Stubblefield followed with a double of his own to score Gaedele, making it 2-1. Mike Gallic reached on an error by shortstop Yadiel Rivera, which moved Stubblefield to third. Jace Peterson used a sacrifice fly to score Stubblefield, and extend the advantage to 3-1.
It remained a two-run advantage for the TinCaps until the ninth inning. Austin Hedges hit his first triple of the season, and Duanel Jones then came to the plate and clobbered a Kevin Shackelford pitch over the wall in left field. Jones' home run was the second of the game for Fort Wayne and the eighth for the TinCaps in their postseason run.
The series heads to Fort Wayne for the conclusion, with at least two more games to be played. Game three is scheduled for Saturday night at 7:05 PM and game four will be Sunday night at 5:05 PM. Game five, if necessary, will be Monday night at 7:05 PM.