Fort Wayne, IN - Through seven innings Saturday night, pitching was the story as 2011 first-round draft choices Joe Ross and Robert Stephenson combined to allow four hits and strike out 13. However, by the time the game was over, the pitchers were nearly forgotten as Fort Wayne's Maxx Tissenbaum delivered a walk-off single in the bottom of the 12th, giving the TinCaps a 1-0 win over the Dayton Dragons.
Tissenbaum, who went 3-for-4, came to the plate with Mallex Smith at second base. Smith led off the 12th with a bunt single and was sacrificed to second base by Alberth Martinez. Smith's hit came after Joel Bender (0-2) worked four perfect innings against Fort Wayne (37-23) from the eighth through the 11th. With the walk-off hit, the TinCaps improved to 5-0 in extra innings this season and secured their seventh walk-off win.
Chances to score for the TinCaps were few and far between, as they scattered only five total hits against Dayton (26-35). Fort Wayne had just three opportunities with runners in scoring position, and left four runners on base. Their best chance to score before the 12th came in the sixth inning when, with Smith at second base, Tissenbaum hit a two-out single to left, but Kyle Winker's throw beat Smith to the plate, and he was tagged out by catcher Joe Hudson.
Dayton threatened several times down the stretch, putting runners in scoring position in the eighth, ninth, 11th and 12th innings. Chris Nunn (5-0) evaded a bases-loaded, no-out dilemma in the 11th, fanning Jeff Gelalich and getting the Dragons' best offensive threat, Jesse Winker, to ground into an inning-ending double play.
Fort Wayne is now a perfect 4-0 against the Dragons this year, and improves to a season-best 14 games above .500. The TinCaps entered the night with a 5 game lead over Bowling Green for the Eastern Division first-half wild-card, and maintained that lead as the Hot Rods defeated Lake County. However, since both teams were victorious, Fort Wayne's magic number to clinch a playoff spot is four, with just nine games to play in the first half.
Game two of the three-game series is scheduled for Sunday afternoon at 1:05. The scheduled starters are 2012 first-round draft selections Max Fried for Fort Wayne and Nick Travieso for Dayton. The game can be seen on XFINITY 81 and heard on The Fan 1380 and TheFanFortWayne.com.