Chiefs Take Series Opener 2-1 in Ten Innings
Left fielder Kenneth Peoples-Walls scampered home with the winning run in the top of the tenth inning as the Peoria Chiefs (17-11, 54-43) defeated the South Bend Silver Hawks (17-11, 57-40) 2-1 on Saturday night at Four Winds Fields. Hawks starter Blake Perry threw seven masterful innings of one-run ball but Chiefs hurler Luis Perdomo matched Perry through six innings to keep the game level and the Chiefs bullpen did not allow a run the rest of the way in the Peoria victory.
The South Bend Silver Hawks, the Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, took an early lead in the bottom of the first. Shortstop Andrew Velazquez led off the inning with a double as he launched a ball deep to center that caromed off the wall. Center fielder Chuck Taylor followed with a single to shallow center to score Velazquez from second and put the Hawks up 1-0.
Perry was able to keep the Peoria Chiefs, the Class-A affiliate of the St. Louis Cardinals, off the board until the fourth inning. Center fielder C.J. McElroy led off the frame with a single to left. During catcher Carson Kelly's at-bat, McElroy swiped second and then advanced to third on a wild pitch. After getting Kelly to pop out to third and first baseman Justin Ringo to strikeout, it looked like Perry was going to get out of the jam. However, shortstop Juan Herrera was able to use the Force to place a flare off his bat just over Daniel Palka's head at first for a double, allowing McElroy to cross the plate to knot the score at 1-1.
Both pitching staffs handcuffed the offense the rest of the night. Perry threw seven innings, allowing only one run on four hits while striking out nine. Perdomo hurled six innings of one run ball, giving up four hits while striking out four. The bullpens combined to keep the game tied through regulation. Will Locante and Silvino Bracho each pitched a scoreless inning of relief for the Hawks. For Peoria, Kyle Barraclough and Kevin Herget (W, 4-3) combined for 3 2/3 innings of scoreless relief as the game was pushed into extras.
As the fans began to enjoy free baseball, Nick Sariandes (L, 0-1) entered for the Hawks in the top of the tenth. Peoples-Walls led off the tenth with a slow roller to Hawks third baseman Joe Munoz. Munoz fielded the ball but his throw to first sailed high, allowing Peoples-Walls to reach on the E-5 throwing. Third baseman Rafael Medina pushed Peoples-Walls into scoring position with his sacrifice bunt to Munoz. With two outs, designated hitter Vaughn Bryan walked to bring McElroy to the plate. McElroy hit a ground ball to third but Munoz was unable to corral the ball allowing Peoples-Walls to score to put Peoria ahead 2-1.
South Bend tried to make it interesting in the bottom of the tenth. Fidel Pena entered the game as a pinch hitter for Zach Esquerra. Pena came through with a single to right and then moved into scoring position at second on Velazquez's sacrifice bunt. Then during Taylor's at-bat, Pena advanced to third on a wild pitch. That was as close as the Hawks would get as Herget got Taylor to pop out to first for the second out of the inning and then Zach Loraine (S, 9) induced Munoz to pop-out to second to seal the Chiefs 2-1 victory.
The Hawks and Chiefs meet up again on Sunday afternoon at 2:05pm. Lefty Rob Kaminsky (4-1, 1.44 ERA) gets the start for Peoria while righty Markus Solbach (0-1, 13.50 ERA) gets the ball for the Hawks. It is Family and Swoop Troop Day at Four Winds Field with a pregame catch on the field beginning at 1:15pm and a post-game autograph session on the field with your South Bend Silver Hawks. There is also a cooler bag giveaway and the first 750 fans through the gate will receive a free cooler bag.