The third largest crowd in the history of Parkview Field was on hand Thursday. But the Fort Wayne TinCaps could not deliver a victory for the 8,531 people in attendance.
Lansing’s Kevin Patterson hit a three-run homer in the eighth inning to give the Lugnuts a 5-4 lead and eventual win by the same score. The loss eliminated the TinCaps from qualifying for the playoffs in the first half of the season. Fort Wayne can still earn a playoff spot during the second half of the season.
Fort Wayne (31-36) fell behind 1-0 in the second inning, when K.C. Hobson hit an RBI double off of TinCaps starter Colin Rea. Rea worked six innings, walking none and striking out a career high eight batters.
The TinCaps responded with a run in the bottom of the third inning on an RBI single from Yeison Asencio. He finished the game with three hits in five at bats, and two runs batted in.
Fort Wayne scored three runs in the fifth inning to take a 4-2 lead. Kyung-Min Na doubled to lead off the inning for the TinCaps and advanced to third when Casey McElroy followed with a single. Asencio drove in Na with an infield hit. McElroy advanced to third and Asencio to second on the play on a throwing error by Lansing shortstop Andy Burns. The TinCaps took a 3-2 lead on a wild pitch by Blake McFarland that scored McElroy. Austin Hedges made the score 4-2 when he doubled to left field to score Asencio.
Johnny Barbato worked the seventh inning for the TinCaps, and allowed one run on an RBI single from Shane Opitz. Fort Wayne carried the 4-2 lead into the eighth inning.
Chris Haney (0-2), pitching for the TinCaps, allowed a one-out single to Burns and a two-out single to K.C. Hobson. That brought Patterson to the plate. Patterson’s three-run homer cleared the center field wall. The Lugnuts would hold that 5-4 lead for the remainder of the game.
Kramer Champlin (3-1) earned the win in relief for Lansing, and Ajay Meyer, who tossed two perfect innings, notched his league-leading 20th save.
The TinCaps finish the first half on the road against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. First pitch of tonight’s game is scheduled for 8:05 p.m. The scheduled starters are Matt Wisler for Fort Wayne and Parker Markel for Bowling Green.