FORT WAYNE – A game-winning double by Diego Goris in the bottom of the 11th gave Fort Wayne a 3-2 win over South Bend on Friday at Parkview Field.
It was the TinCaps’ first win of the second half and their first victory over the Silver Hawks this year. Fort Wayne (44-27) was 0-7 against South Bend (45-26) entering Friday’s game.
We just keep kind of knocking at the door, knocking at the door, TinCaps manager Jose Valentin said. It was a great, great game today.
Each time in the last seven tries, South Bend had found a way to eke out a win. The Silver Hawks had four one-run victories over Fort Wayne, and they won by two runs in another.
Friday, the TinCaps were on the winning side of a close-fought battle.
It feels like a playoff win, Fort Wayne starting pitcher Zach Eflin said. It’s a big win.
Eflin went five innings and gave up five hits and two earned runs. He threw 91 pitches and struck out five while walking two.
His bullpen was even stronger.
Relievers Matthew Shepherd, Leonel Campos, Roman Madrid and Chris Nunn pitched a combined six innings and surrendered just two hits.
Nunn, who pitched the top of the 11th inning, picked up the win. South Bend batters struck out 10 times and totaled seven hits.
As a bullpen, we got a good atmosphere down there. We know that’s our job – to come in and keep the game where it’s at, said Shepherd, who threw two hitless innings after Eflin’s exit. I think we did a great job.
A night after drawing a record crowd of 8,643 fans, the TinCaps got another huge turnout, as a paid attendance of 7,911 brought Fort Wayne’s two-game second-half total to 16,554. The TinCaps got just two hits in Thursday 2-1 loss. This time, despite the strength of both pitching staffs, Fort Wayne gave fans their money’s worth.
Both teams got home runs in the second inning – South Bend’s from designated hitter Rudy Flores, Fort Wayne’s from shortstop Tyler Stubblefield – but not much else afterward. The teams were tied at 2 by the top of the fourth and remained that way until Goris’ double down the first-base line, just beyond a diving Carver Bell’s glove, drove in Alberth Martinez
The TinCaps improved to 6-0 in extra-inning games, and it was Goris’ second game-winning hit of the year.
When we really need a hit, Valentin said. He’s always in the right spot at the right time to be able to come through.
Note: Coast to Coast Baseball will hold tryouts for its player development program June 29 at Parkview Field. The tryouts are for players ages 10 to 18, and there will also be an instructional hitting camp. For more information, go to www.coasttocoastathletics.com.