MIDLAND, Mich. - The Great Lakes Loons (0-1) fell to the South Bend Silver Hawks (1-0), 3-0, Wednesday night at Dow Diamond in the first game of a three-game series in the first round of the Midwest League Playoffs. South Bend scored one run in the third and two more in the eighth to pick up the victory.
"I'd like to think that they pitched really well," Loons manager Razor Shines said. "Sometimes in this game, you have to tip your hat to your opponents and tonight, they were the better baseball team. They pitched better than we did, they hit better than we did and they made some plays. I tip my hat to them, they were better than us tonight."
The Silver Hawks opened the scoring with a run in the third inning. South Bend got a pair of two-out singles from Rudy Flores and Fidel Pena to extend the inning, with Pena's single driving in Brandon Drury for the first run on the game.
Both teams got good outings from their starting pitchers. The Silver Hawks got six great innings from Aaron Blair (1-0, MWL Playoffs), a 2013 first-round selection of the Diamondbacks, who picked up the win. Blair scattered four hits and held the Loons scoreless over six innings of work, while striking out five and walking three.
Chris Anderson (0-1), the Dodgers No. 7 prospect, started for Great Lakes and went 2 2/3 innings. Anderson gave up one run on four hits, but took credit for the loss. He struck out six and walked two.
"I thought I had some good stuff tonight," Anderson said. "They put some good swings on a few pitches and fouled a lot of them off. Obviously, it didn't go the way we wanted it to go tonight. The season isn't over. We have tomorrow to play for and if we can pull off a win, we can get back at these guys in the final game."
The Loons also got 3 1/3 innings of relief from Tom Windle, the Dodgers No. 9 prospect. Windle held the Silver Hawks scoreless and gave up just two hits, while striking out three and walking two.
"It was a tough game tonight," Windle said. "We came up on the short end of things. That's baseball. To win games, you have to have both (pitching and hitting) going at the same time. Sometimes you can win a game 1-0, but it just didn't work out tonight. But if we win tomorrow, we're going to put the pressure back on them for game three."
South Bend sealed the win with two runs in the top of the eighth inning. Both runs came on a two-out double to left field from nine-hitter Breland Almadova. Pena and Mike Lang scored on the play.
Reliever Ralston Cash threw 1 1/3 innings for Great Lakes, giving up two runs on one hit, while striking out one and walking one. Geoff Brown gave the Loons 1 2/3 innings of relief, allowing no runs and two hits. Brown struck out two and walked one.
Great Lakes threatened in the eighth, putting runners on first and second, with one out. However, the Silver Hawks brought in Geordy Parra from the bullpen, who proceeded to strike out the Loons cleanup hitter, Tyler Ogle, and the Loons five-hitter, James Baldwin, to end the inning.
The Loons and Silver Hawks will play game two of their three-game playoff series on Thursday night in South Bend. A Great Lakes win would push the series to a third game, which would be played on Friday night. However, if the Loons lose, they would be eliminated from the Midwest League Playoffs, ending their 2013 season. Game time is 7:05 p.m. The game will be aired live on ESPN 100.9-FM and ESPN1009.com.
"If anybody thinks that we are going to go to South Bend and lay down, first of all, they don't know me, secondly, they don't know the character in that locker room," Shines said. "I can assure you we won't lay down. Now, I can't tell you the outcome because I'm not a prognosticator, but I can tell you that we're going to go there and play hard. We are expecting to win."
Great Lakes is expected to start Jonathan Martinez (3-4, 3.51 ERA) on Thursday. Braden Shipley (0-1, 2.61), a 6-foot-3, 190-pound righty is slated to start for South Bend. Shipley was drafted by Arizona in the first round of the 2013 draft.
The Great Lakes Loons are a seventh-year Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers. For tickets and more information about the Loons, visit Loons.com or call 989-837-BALL.