The South Bend Silver Hawks (23-11) scored early three runs and did not look back, beating the Great Lakes Loons (13-24) by a score of 6-1 on Tuesday night at Dow Diamond. It was the Loons first home game in eight days.
Great Lakes best chance to score multiple runs happened right away. In the first inning, their first three batters got hits, including a double from Kevin Taylor, but they did not score. Robbie Garvey led off with a single and stole second, but was thrown out at second when he moved too far up the basepath after the attempt to throw him out went into the outfield. With one out and runners on second and third, Tyler Ogle struck out and Dashenko Ricardo grounded out.
“We didn’t play well,” Loons manager Razor Shines said. “We didn’t execute like we should have. In the first inning, we got three hits, including a double, and we don’t score a run. Obviously something was done incorrectly. It could have been a different ballgame.”
South Bend started the scoring in the top of the third inning. Eight-hitter Breland Almadova, who was 3-for-4 on the night, doubled down the left field line and scored on a single from Brandon Drury, who was 2-for-5.
The Silver Hawks added two runs in the fourth. Almadova tripled to right-center field to score six-hitter Steven Rodriguez. On the Almadova triple, Loons center fielder James Baldwin and right fielder Jeremy Rathjen had a rough collision in right-center, allowing the ball to drop. Almadova scored the second run of the inning on a single from leadoff hitter Fidel Pena, who was 2-for-5 in the game, with two RBI.
Loons starter Jharel Cotton went six innings, giving up three runs on six hits, with four strikeouts and three walks, to take credit for the loss.
“I don’t think it was a great outing, but it was a good outing,” Cotton said. “My coach told me six innings and three runs or less, so it was a quality start. I gave my team a chance to win a ballgame. I’m happy I went out and gave it my best.”
Great Lakes added a run in the home half of the seventh. Jesmuel Valentin doubled to left-center field and scored on a sacrifice fly from Garvey, who was 3-for-4 in the game.
“I just got my mind right tonight,” Garvey said. “The last few games I haven’t felt as good. Maybe it was some jet lag. I wasn’t struggling, but I just felt a little lethargic. Today I got back on track, felt good and was seeing the ball.”
Daniel Watts started for the Silver Hawks and scattered nine hits over seven innings, giving up just one run. He was credited with the win, while striking out six and walking one.
South Bend added two more runs in the eighth and one in the ninth. In the eighth, five-hitter Kevin Medrano doubled to score cleanup hitter Alex Glenn. Medrano scored on a Steven Rodriguez sacrifice fly. Almadova scored South Bend’s run in the ninth inning, coming home on a Pena double.
Enrique Burgos pitched a scoreless eighth for the Silver Hawks and Frank Santana threw a scoreless ninth to keep the Loons from adding any more runs.
The Loons are back in action on Wednesday morning when they play the South Bend Silver Hawks in the second game of a three-game series. Carlos Frias (3-1, 1.65 ERA) is expected to start for the Loons and the projected starter for South Bend is Brandon Sinnery (0-1, 1.91 ERA), who played his college ball at the University of Michigan.