FORT WAYNE – The TinCaps’ right fielder was charged with the loss as a pitcher. Burlington’s center fielder picked up the win, and its first baseman recorded the save.
Those are the things that happen when a franchise record is set for length of game in time and matched for innings as the TinCaps fell 7-5 to the Bees on Wednesday afternoon at Parkview Field.
I haven’t been out there in a long time, said Ronnie Richardson, who pitched for the first time in three years when he was called out of right field in the 18th inning for the TinCaps (4-8).
I wasn’t thinking about pitching in pro ball at all. I wasn’t really expecting that.
Richardson gave up two runs on three hits and was charged with the loss. He went 3 for 5 and scored three times, hitting in the No. 2 spot for the TinCaps.
Mark Shannon, who started the game in center field and went 2 for 9 with an RBI, got the win after giving up two runs on five hits in three innings for Burlington (7-5). Ryan Dalton, who started at first base and went 2 for 9 with an RBI and run scored, got the save by holding the TinCaps hitless in the final inning.
The game lasted 5 hours, 45 minutes, surpassing the franchise’s previous longest game of 5:13, which came on April 7, 1995, against the Michigan Battle Cats when the team was called the Wizards. That game also lasted 18 innings with Fort Wayne winning 5-4.
A little disappointed to come up short, especially with so many great positives, said TinCaps manager Michael Collins, who said it was the longest game of his career. Our pitchers did a great job of giving us a chance through those extra innings. We had a few opportunities on the offense and couldn’t come through with the big hit.
The TinCaps used seven pitchers before turning to Richardson in the final inning. The Bees used six pitchers before turning to position players in the final four innings.
Fort Wayne left 36 runners on base, and Burlington stranded 37. The TinCaps had 14 hits, and the Bees had 17.
Hopefully, our bullpen comes back healthy, and we don’t have to use any more position players, Richardson said of the team getting ready to open a three-game homestand against Peoria today. We just have to find away to get it done.
The teams were tied at 3 after eight innings thanks to TinCaps third baseman Dustin Peterson’s RBI single to left field that erased a one-run deficit. Neither team scored again until the 16th inning when Shannon drove in a run with an infield single. The TinCaps responded with an RBI double by Peterson.
The Bees went ahead 5-4 in the 17th on an RBI single by Kody Eaves, but the TinCaps tied the game for a third time as Franchy Cordero hit a sacrifice fly to right to score Dane Phillips, who doubled to open the bottom of the 17th.
Burlington put the game away in the 18th with Ranyelmey Mendoza, who homered in the second, hitting a sacrifice fly to right to bring in the go-ahead run. Dalton brought in an insurance run with a single to center and two outs.
That’s a positive that makes it tough to lose those games, Collins said of the TinCaps’ comeback attempts. But we will prepare ourselves the same, and tomorrow is a new day.