Bullpen fails to hold lead, Wizards lose, 10-9
FORT WAYNE, IN---Perfection, in baseball as well as in life, only lasts so long.
Coming into Saturday afternoon's encounter with Quad Cities, the Fort Wayne Wizards were a perfect 5-0 in games where they had the lead going into both the eighth and ninth inning.
The River Bandits put an end to the perfect streak on both counts, scoring three runs in the top of the eighth inning, and four more in the top of the ninth, to rally from what once was a six-run deficit, and defeat Fort Wayne by a score of 10-9, in front of some 1,514 mainly disappointed fans at Memorial Stadium.
Early on, the game belonged to the Wizard offense.
They took a 2-0 lead against Quad Cities starting pitcher J.D. Stambaugh in the bottom of the first inning, combining doubles from Drew Cumberland and Danny Payne, a run-scoring single by Andy Parrino, and an infield groundout.
The lead mushroomed to 6-0 in the bottom of the third inning, thanks to a two-run home run by Justin Baum (his first home run of the season), and a two-run single off the bat of Felix Carrasco.
The River Bandits began their comeback in the top of the fourth inning, scoring three runs off Fort Wayne starter Geoff Vandel. The key plays in the inning were a lead off double by Charlie Kingery, an Andrew Brown single, which, combined with an error charged to left-fielder Yefri Carvajal, enabled Kingery to score a run, and a two-run home run by Matthew Arburr.
The score remained 6-3 in favor of the Wizards until they faced River Bandit reliever Shaun Garceau in the bottom of the seventh.
With one out, Baum ripped a double into the gap in left-centerfield.
After Kellen Kulbacki popped out to shortstop Pete Kozma for the second out of the inning, Carvajal came through with his second double of the game, a drive that scored Baum and increased the Fort Wayne lead to 7-3.
The long ball once again came into play for Quad Cities in the top of the eighth inning. Kozma drilled a 3-2 pitch from Wizard relief pitcher Robert Woodard off the foul pole down the left field line for a home run (his second of the series) leading off the inning.
Kingery followed Kozma's home run with a single to left.
After Woodard struck out Brown, Arburr connected for his second home run of the night, scoring Kingery in front of him and bringing the River Bandits to within 7-6.
Undaunted, Fort Wayne came up with what at the time looked like an insurance run in their half of the eighth.
Carrasco singled to left field, advanced to second on a perfectly executed sacrifice bunt by Luis Martinez, moved over to third base on a passed ball, and scored when Quad Cities reliever Francisco Samuel was charged with a balk, making the score 8-6 in favor of the home team.
Wizard pitcher Stevie Delabar, who came in the game in the top of the eighth inning and retired the two batters he faced, retired Dave Carpenter on a fly ball to Payne in centerfield for the first out of the ninth inning.
Jose Garcia and Justin Roberson followed with back-to-back singles.
After Delabar struck out Kozma for the second out of the inning, he was removed from the game by Fort Wayne manager Doug Dascenzo, and replaced by Tyler Davis.
Kingery took Davis to a 3-2 count, and then lifted a high fly ball that carried all the way over the 400-foot mark in straightaway centerfield for a three-run homer, giving the River Bandits their first lead of the game at 9-8.
Perhaps shell-shocked, Davis gave up another home run, this one to Brown, to put Quad Cities up by a score of 10-8.
The Wizards tried valiantly to make a comeback in the bottom of the ninth, scoring once and having the tying run on at second base with two outs, but Carrasco took a called third strike, and the game was over.
The two teams collected a total of 27 hits in the game, with five of the 13 River Bandit hits being home runs, and seven of the 14 Fort Wayne hits being doubles.
Samuel (2-0) picked up the win, while Davis (0-1) suffered the loss.
Each team has now won once in the series, with the third and final game scheduled for Sunday afternoon.
The starting pitchers are expected to be Wizard right-hander Wynn Pelzer (1-1, 8.00) and Quad Cities southpaw Nick Additon (2-0, 0.69). The game can be heard on both the radio (ESPN Radio 1380) and the Internet (www.fortwaynewizards.com), beginning with the Hupe Insurance Services Pre-Game Show at 1:40 p.m. (EDT).
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Midwest League Stories from April 19, 2008
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