FORT WAYNE – The TinCaps carried a lead into the eighth inning and rallied in the ninth, only to fall to the Dayton Dragons, 4-2, on Thursday night at Parkview Field in front of a season-high crowd of 8,458.
The Dragons (3-5 second half, 24-54 overall) surged ahead in the eighth on a three-run home run by right fielder Reydel Medina to claim the finale and ensure the series win in the four-game set with the TinCaps (4-4, 40-38).
Thursday’s attendance was the 10th-largest in the history of Parkview Field.
Fort Wayne snatched a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the fourth when designated hitter Carlos Belen clubbed a sacrifice fly to deep center field to plate shortstop Ruddy Giron.
But Medina’s home run handed the Dragons a 3-1 lead, and Dayton fended off the TinCaps in the ninth.
Down 4-1 in the bottom of the ninth, third baseman Kodie Tidwell led off with an infield single and came around to score on a wild pitch, trimming the deficit to 4-2. However, Dragons righty Jesus Reyes (S, 2) buttoned up the victory.
TinCaps starting pitcher Austin Smith matched his best professional outing with five shutout innings, two hits, no walks and six strikeouts.
Reliever Elliot Morris (L, 1-1) was charged with two runs in 2.2 innings after right-hander Lou Distasio surrendered the home run to Medina.
Dragons starter Jose Lopez (W, 5-7) allowed just one run over seven strong innings of two-hit ball.
Next game for Fort Wayne is Friday at Lake County Captains, a 7 p.m. start.