The Great Lakes Loons continued a streak of winning low-scoring, one-run pitchers’ duels Monday night, capturing a 1-0 win in the first game of a three-game series over the South Bend Silver Hawks.
The Loons have won four straight overall, the last three have all been by one run. And the three one-run wins have all had similarities. Like the first game of Sunday’s doubleheader win over Lake County, the Loons won 1-0 and the game-winning single was provided by Jeremy Rathjen. And like the second game Sunday, when Ralston Cash took a no-hitter into the fifth inning, Monday’s starter Carlos Frias flirted with history, retiring the first 14 batters he faced, and carrying a no-hitter into the second batter of the sixth inning.
After allowing a walk and a bunt single to break up the no-hitter in the sixth inning, Frias struck out Kevin Medrano and Fidel Pena. But with runners at first and second, he surrendered an 0-2 single to Brandon Drury up the middle. Ronnie Freeman attempted to score but was gunned out at home by center fielder James Baldwin to preserve the scoreless tie. Frias did not allow a run in seven innings, but left the game after approximately 91 pitches with the game still tied 0-0. He allowed just four hits and struck out four.
South Bend starter Brandon Sinnery, a University of Michigan product, was nearly as dominant, striking out eight in his seven shutout innings. Neither starter factored into the decision.
In the ninth, his second relief inning, lefty Will Locante (0-1) hit Jesus Valdez with a thigh-high fastball with two outs and the bases empty. He then attempted to pick Valdez off, but threw errantly down the right field line for a two-base throwing error. Rathjen made him pay with a single up the middle to score the game’s lone run.
Sawil Gonzalez (2-0) worked the final two innings without allowing a run and striking out four for his second win of the year.
The Loons and Silver Hawks meet for the second game of the three-game series Tuesday night at Coveleski Stadium. Game time is 7:05 p.m. Righty Jonathan Martinez (0-1, 4.00) is scheduled to start for the Loons with lefty Miguel Sulbaran (1-0, 1.17) slated as a scheduled reliever. Right-hander Blake Perry (0-1, 3.38) will likely make South Bend’s start with lefty Cody Wheeler (1-0, 1.80) the anticipated first reliever for the Silver Hawks.