Second Place Hawks Lose First Game of Home Stand in Third Inning
One bad inning cost the South Bend Silver Hawks on Friday night at Four Winds Field. The Silver Hawks gave up five runs in the third inning of of a 6-3 loss to the Lansing Lugnuts, Class-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays.
Shortstop Jason Leblebijian led off the top of the third with a single to left. Leblebijian stayed on the move as he came all the way around from first to score on catcher Chris Schaeffer's double to the left-center gap for the first run of the game. After left fielder Ian Parmley drew a walk from Hawks starter Blake Perry (L, 7-5), a 1-3 sacrifice bunt from right fielder Derrick Loveless pushed Schaeffer to third and Parmley to second. As Perry struggled to find his control, third baseman Mitch Nay drew a walk to load the bases with one out. Second baseman David Harris then laced a double to the left-center gap to clear the bases as Schaeffer, Parmley and Nay all score. The rally continued as a single to center by center fielder DJ Davis was enough to allow Harris to score from second. After a single to first baseman Justin Atkinson, Perry regrouped and induced Leblebijian to ground into a fielder's choice to end the inning, but not before the Lugnuts had jumped out to a 5-0 lead.
The South Bend Silver Hawks, Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, started to chip away at the Lugnuts' lead in the bottom of the fourth. Center fielder Chuck Taylor led off by drawing a walk from Lansing starter Miguel Castro (W, 1-1). Then with one out, third baseman Joe Munoz lined a double down the left field line to move Taylor up to third. A 6-3 ground out by right fielder Justin Williams brought Taylor home as the Hawks inched closer 5-1.
The Hawks drew closer with single runs in both the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings. In the fifth inning first baseman Marty Herum led off with a triple into the right field corner. Then during left fielder DJ Bowman's at-bat a wild pitch that bounced off the plate and to the backstop allowed Herum to cross the plate to bring the Hawks within 5-2. The bottom of the sixth started with Taylor and second baseman Fidel Pena drawing back-to-back walks. A wild pitch during Williams at-bat bumped Taylor to third and Pena to second. Williams then followed with another grounder to short to bring Taylor home and close the gap to 5-3.
Lansing added an insurance run in the top of the seventh. Loveless started the inning with a double to the right field corner off Hawks reliever Alex Byo. After advancing to third on a wild pitch, Loveless scored on Nay's single to center as the ball bounced just past the reach of shortstop Andrew Velazquez for a 6-3 edge.
Despite a rousing rendition of the seventh inning stretch by Clown Prince of Baseball Myron Noodleman, the Hawks were not able to muster a rally down the stretch. The Lugnuts bullpen of Joe Lovecchio, and Brady Dragmire (S, 2) combined to hold South Bend scoreless over the last three innings as Lansing took the first game of the three game series 6-3.
The Hawks and 'Nuts continue the series Saturday night at Four Winds Field, with first pitch set for 7:05 p.m. Brent Jones (2-2, 4.02) is scheduled to take the mound for South Bend. Saturday is Fan Appreciation Night. The Silver Hawks will thank all their fans for another great summer of baseball with a special Saturday Fireworks Extravaganza following the game! It's also a Flat Screen Giveaway night. Every inning a 39" flat screen television will be given away, presented by hh gregg and 103.9 The Bear. Be sure to register during the game for a chance to win. Finally, it's Silver Hawks Poster Giveaway weekend. The first 1,500 fans for each game this weekend will receive a free Silver Hawks Poster, presented by Villing and Co. and Mossburg Printing.