The Great Lakes Loons (14-25) were held to just one hit by South Bend Silver Hawks (24-12) pitchers Blake Perry, Henry Garcia and RJ Hively, as the Silver Hawks won by a score of 4-1 on $1 Family Feast Night at Dow Diamond on Thursday.
Devin Shines, who was activated from the disabled list before the game, was the lone Loon to get a hit, with a double down the left field line in the seventh.
“It’s good to be healthy again,” Shines said. “I really wanted to be aggressive. I didn’t want to come out and be passive and take pitches. I wanted to assert myself and get a good pitch to hit and put a good swing on it.”
South Bend opened the scoring with two runs in the third inning. With two outs, Breland Almadova singled and then scored on a Socrates Brito double to right center field. Brandon Drury, who went 2-for-5, followed with a double down the left field line to score Brito, who also went 2-for-5.
The bottom of the third was when the game changed for both teams. Loons right fielder Jeremy Rathjen led off the inning and was hit in the head by Perry, the Silver Hawks starter. After a meeting with the trainer and manager Razor Shines, Rathjen was removed from the game and replaced by Pat Stover.
Jesmuel Valentin then attempted to bunt Stover to second base, but South Bend catcher Roidany Aguila threw Stover out at second. Shortstop Pedro Ruiz attempted to turn the double play, but was interfered with by Stover and Valentin was ruled out. Shines began to argue the call with the field umpire Clinton Vondrak before Silver Hawks manager Mark Haley became involved. After a meeting with home plate umpire Nate Tomlinson, Shines and Haley were both ejected. Loons hitting coach Mike Eylward took over managerial duties for the rest of the game.
“We had very good pitching out of the bullpen tonight,” Eylward said. “It was good to see. It was a pretty good ballgame, but I wish we had been able to put a few more runs on the board.”
James Baldwin followed in the next at-bat and was hit in the foot by Perry. After yet another on-field argument, which included players from both teams going onto the field, Baldwin was ejected from the game and was replaced by Devin Shines. Perry proceeded to walk the next three Loons batters and Shines scored on the third walk, drawn by Kevin Taylor.
Perry (1-2, 5.74 ERA) pitched five innings for South Bend and received credit for the win. He allowed one run on no hits, walked four and struck out five.
After Loons starter Angel Sanchez walked his only two batters of the game in the fifth, Brandon Drury singled to center field for the Silver Hawks to score Ruiz to make the score 3-1.
Sanchez (1-4, 4.23 ERA) went 5.2 innings for Great Lakes and surrendered four runs on seven hits. Sanchez walked two and struck out six.
In the sixth, Carter Bell hit a ground ball to Loons third baseman Elevys Gonzalez, who threw the ball past first baseman Tyler Ogle, allowing Bell to advance to second base. After a wild pitch from Sanchez, Ruiz singled for South Bend, scoring Bell from third to give the Silver Hawks a 4-1 lead.
Kevin Taylor led off in the bottom of the sixth for the Loons, but struck out looking. He proceeded to be ejected from the game on his walk back to the home dugout.
Loons three-hitter Kevin Taylor was also ejected from the game after he struck out looking in the bottom of the sixth.
Luis Meza was a bright spot for the Loons as he pitched 2.1 innings of scoreless ball. He gave up two hits, had no walks and struck out three.
“I controlled my pitches and kept the balls down,” Meza said. “I wanted to get hitters to make contact and give my defense a chance to make some plays behind me. That’s what I was able to do tonight.”