Geneva, Illinois (Indiana's NewsCenter) – An eighth-inning rally by the Kane County Cougars was enough to topple the Fort Wayne TinCaps on Thursday night, as Fort Wayne fell 8-5 in the first of a three-game set. The TinCaps led 5-4 heading into the eighth inning, but the Cougars, the league’s most proficient offense, attacked against Fort Wayne’s Michael Kelly and Daniel Sarria (BS), and held on in the ninth for the win.
Kane County’s offense chipped away in the early going, scoring one run in each of the first three innings, to lead 3-1 at the end of three. In the fourth the TinCaps would take the lead, though.
Working against Cougars starter Brooks Pounder, Fort Wayne (4-10) used a combination of hits and miscues in the field to its favor. Zach Kometani singled home a run to make it 3-2, and later on a fielding error by shortstop Orlando Calixte, both Kometani and Duanel Jones touched home, giving Fort Wayne a 4-3 advantage.
Pounder worked four innings, gave up four runs on six hits, but only one of those runs was earned. The Cougars committed five errors in the game.
Kane County (8-6) scored once in the fifth, tying the game 4-4. In the sixth, the TinCaps touched Cougars reliever Santiago Garrido (2-0) for one run, making it 5-4, as Matt Colantonio doubled, stole third, and came home on a throwing error by Kane County Catcher Jin-Ho Shin. The Fort Wayne lead would hold through both the bottom of the sixth and through a scoreless seventh.
Reliever Michael Kelly held the advantage after coming on in relief of starting pitcher Justin Hancock. It was the first start for Hancock since August of 2011, and he worked four and two thirds of an inning, giving up four runs, three earned, on eight hits, walking one and striking out three.
Kelly, who pitched two and two thirds innings, did not make it out of the eighth. He began by getting Cougars first baseman Murray Watts to fly out to center. Kelly then allowed a single to Shin and walked Tim Ferguson, putting runners at first and second with one out. Daniel Sarria was then called upon from the bullpen, and he allowed four runs, two of which were charged to Kelly, to score.
The TinCaps trailed 8-5 entering the ninth, but sent just three men to the plate against Kane County’s Nick Graffeo, as he earned his third save in as many tries.
Fort Wayne tries to snap a two-game skid as Cody Hebner goes to the hill on Friday night, opposed by Kane County righty Aaron Brooks. First pitch is scheduled for 7:00.
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