The South Bend Silver Hawks (71-53) got on the scoreboard at the first possible moment Sunday afternoon at Four Winds Field. Leading the Hawks to a 3-2 victory over the Lansing Lugnuts (56-68), shortstop Andrew Velazquez took the very first pitch thrown by Lansing starter Starlyn Suriel (L, 1-3) over the wall in right field, just inside the foul pole. The home run for Velazquez was his second in two days, and his 8th of the season.
The Hawks tacked on another run in the bottom of the second. Right fielder Justin Williams led off with a grounder to first. While Justin Atkinson was able to field the ball, he was unable to secure it in his glove as he turned to tag the base. The E-3 fielding allowed Williams to reach safely. After second baseman Jamie Westbrook singled to right, catcher Grant Nelson drew a walk from Suriel to load the bases. With two outs, Velazquez hit a grounder toward the edge of the dirt by first. As Atkinson attempted to make the play, the ball caromed off his glove allowing Williams to score as Velazquez collected an infield single. While the ball was still loose on the field, Westbrook rounded third and headed for home. Atkinson's throw to the plate beat Westbrook as he was tagged out by the catcher to end the inning with the Hawks in front 2-0.
The Lansing Lugnuts, Class-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, cut into the Hawks' lead in the top of the sixth. With two outs, designated hitter David Harris belted a 1-2 offering from South Bend starter Sean Furney (W, 8-6) over the right field wall. The single run was all that Furney surrendered to the Lugnuts as he tossed six complete innings, allowing five hits while striking out three.
South Bend added a needed insurance run in the bottom of the seventh. First baseman Marty Herum led off the frame with a single to left and then advanced to second on Nelson's 5-3 sacrifice bunt. Left fielder DJ Bowman lined an offering from Lugnuts reliever Alonzo Gonzalez into the right field corner. As the ball reached the corner, it ricocheted off the top of the railing between the playing surface and the lawn seating. Derrick Loveless followed the bouncing ball in right, Bowman reached third for a triple and Herum came around to score for a 3-1 Hawks advantage.
Lansing added another long ball in the top of the eighth. With two outs, Loveless cranked a Nick Sarianides 2-2 pitch off the Leinenkugel's sign on the video board in right. The Lugnuts did not get any closer, as Sarianides got Harris to ground out to short to end the eighth. Then the Hawks called upon Midwest League saves leader, Silvino Bracho (S, 24) in the ninth. Bracho sat the Lugnuts down in order to secure the Hawks 3-2 victory and his 24th save of the season.
The South Bend Silver Hawks welcome the Dayton Dragons, Class-A affiliate of the Cincinnati Reds, to Four Winds Field Monday night. First pitch is set for 7:05 p.m. Ryan Doran (7-6, 3.22) is scheduled to start for the Hawks and Amir Garrett (7-6, 3.22) will take the mound for the Dragons.
It's Belly Buster Monday, presented by Kayem Foods! A $15 ticket and wristband gets you unlimited hot dogs, hamburgers, popcorn and peanuts during the game.