Eastlake, Ohio (Indiana's NewsCenter) – While TinCaps starter Cody Hebner lasted just three innings Monday night, the Fort Wayne bullpen was strong in relief, working the final six innings of a 5-4 victory over the Lake County Captains. Duanel Jones hit a two-run home run and Matt Stites earned his sixth save of the year, as the TinCaps earned their fourth consecutive series victory to open the second half.
Hebner allowed a Lake County (5-6, 36-44) run in the first inning, putting the TinCaps in an immediate hole. Fort Wayne (8-3, 39-42) then responded with a three-run top half of the second. Duanel Jones blasted a two-run home run off of Captains starter Mason Radeke (5-2), and Travis Jankowski hit an RBI double, which gave him his first Midwest League run batted in.
That lead evaporated by the time the third inning was over, though, as Hebner allowed single runs in both the second and third innings. He departed after the third, making Monday the shortest start of his season. The righty allowed three runs on five hits, while walking one and striking out a season-low-tying two batters.
Kyle Gaedele broke the 3-3 tie in the fourth inning with an RBI groundout. In the bottom half of the inning, Dennis O’Grady (1-0) emerged from the bullpen to throw the first of his three scoreless frames. O’Grady handed it over to Johnny Barbato, who worked the seventh and the eighth.
The top half of the eighth saw Fort Wayne score again, as Travis Whitmore contributed an RBI single, which would prove to be a crucial run. With a 5-3 lead, Barbato allowed one run to pass in the bottom of the eighth, setting the score at 5-4.
The TinCaps did not score in the top of the ninth, and Barbato turned the ball over to Matt Stites. The righthander, who had given up a game-tying home run at Classic Park on June 4, avenged that evening with a perfect ninth inning, earning his sixth save of the season.
The finale of the three-game series is scheduled for Tuesday night at 7:00 PM. The scheduled starters are Ruben Mejia for Fort Wayne and Elvis Araujo for Lake County.
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