Left fielder Alex Glenn’s two-run single backed a strong start from Jesse Darrah as the South Bend Silver Hawks defeated the West Michigan Whitecaps 6-2 on Monday afternoon. In front of a crowd of over 5,000 on a School Day at Coveleski Regional Stadium, the Midwest League Eastern Division-leading Hawks took the rubber game of the series.
West Michigan (15-19) got on the board first as the Hawks looked to be still waking up for the early 10:35am start. Shortstop David Gonzalez led off the game with a ground ball single past the diving Hawks first baseman. Right fielder Jake Stewart lined a single to right to put runners on first and second with nobody out. Darrah (3-2) then struck out Whitecaps second baseman Devon Travis for the first out of the inning. First baseman Jeff Holm hit a ground ball to Frazier Hall at first but Hall threw it into left field as he tried to start a double play at second base. Glenn picked the ball up in left field and threw it away trying to get it back in to the infield, allowing Gonzalez to score the opening run of the game for the Whitecaps. Darrah got back to back strikeouts to end the inning, stranding runners at second and third.
South Bend (22-11) tied the game in the bottom of the second inning off of Whitecaps starting pitcher Jordan John (1-3). Third basemen Carter Bell grounded a double down the right field line. Hall was up next. He singled to left making it first and third with one out. Right fielder Mike Lang hit a grounder to third base that scored Bell to tie the game at 1-1. Lang ended up at second base when Travis threw the ball into the Hawks dugout while trying to turn a double play.
The Hawks took the lead for good in the bottom of the third inning. Center fielder Breland Almadova, who finished the day 2-for-3 with two runs scored, led off the inning with a walk. Designated hitter Brandon Drury followed with a line drive single to center. Catcher Roidany Aguila’s groundout to second base then advanced the runners to second and third. Glenn knocked a base hit into left to score both runners putting the Hawks up 3-1.
West Michigan, the Class-A Affiliate of the 1984 World Champion Detroit Tigers, mounted a threat in the top of the fourth inning when the Whitecaps loaded the bases against Darrah with two outs. Darrah recovered to strike out center fielder Austin Schotts to escape the jam with the 3-1 lead intact. The Hawks added a run in the bottom of the fifth when Almadova led off the inning with a triple and came around to score on a wild pitch by John.
The Whitecaps cut the lead to 4-2 in the top of the sixth inning on a one out solo homerun by left fielder Danry Vasquez that just cleared the wall in right field. The next two hitters would reach on a single and a double to put runners on second and third with one out. Hawks reliever Chris Capper got Schotts to hit a weak ground ball to third base that froze the runners for the second out. After walking Gonzalez to load the bases, Capper struck out Stewart to end the inning.
South Bend, the Class-A Affiliate of the 2001 World Champion Arizona Diamondbacks, put the game away in the bottom of the eighth inning when they tacked on two insurance runs thanks to some shoddy Whitecaps defense. Glenn led off the inning with a single, and continued on to third on a throwing error by Gonzalez at short. Bell singled to score Glenn and make it 5-2 Silver Hawks. Hall then reached on a fielding error by Reaves at third base, putting runners at first and second with no one out. After the next two batters failed to advance the runners, Hawks second baseman Fidel Pena grounded a single to right field to score Hall for the final run of the game.
RJ Hively came on in the ninth inning for the Silver Hawks and shut the door with a 1-2-3 inning to end the game. The last out was made when Travis popped out to shortstop, ending his day at 0-for-5 and stopping his hitting streak at twenty games.
The Hawks head out on the road for a three-game set with the Great Lakes Loons, the Class-A Affiliate of the Los Angeles Dodgers, starting on Tuesday night. They return home on Friday night to start a four-day, five-game series with the Dayton Dragons, the Class-A Affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds. Friday, as always, is a Fireworks Friday so stick around after the game for the Silver Hawks’ famous fireworks spectacular. First pitch is at 7:35pm.