South Bend broke out the brooms as they swept the Fort Wayne TinCaps in a three game series Friday Night at Coveleski Regional Stadium. The 7-6 victory meant that the Silver Hawks remained perfect at home on the season against the TinCaps, who have not won in South Bend since August 1, 2012. The Silver Hawks pulled ahead in the early innings and then used some timely defense down the stretch to seal the win.
The Fort Wayne TinCaps, Class-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, struck first with a run in the second. Left fielder Corey Adamson drew a walk. Catcher Rodney Daal followed by lining a double to the left field corner. Adamson was able to round third and score on the play as left fielder Alex Glenn’s momentum carried him past the ball that stopped under the wall. The TinCaps threat continued as right fielder Brian Adams walked and designated hitter Mallex Smith reached on an infield single. South Bend first baseman Rudy Flores fielded Smith’s grounder, but his flip to starting pitcher Blake Perry at first was tardy. Perry alertly fired home to gun down Daal at the plate to end the inning.
The Silver Hawks retaliated with a crooked number in the bottom of the frame.Third baseman Brandon Drury led off with a single just out of the reach of the shortstop’s glove and into center. Flores drew a walk from TinCaps starter Joe Ross (L, 4-7). Drury and Flores were able to move up to third and second respectively on a 4-3 groundout by designated hitter Roidany Aguila. Glenn followed with a single to right to plate Drury for the Hawks’ first run of the inning and moved Flores to third. Catcher Michael Perez then hit a groundball into the second base hole to score Flores. After a passed ball allowed Glenn and Perez to move up, a walk to shortstop Andrew Velazquez loaded the bases. Second baseman Fidel Pena lofted a pitch from Ross into left for a sacrifice as Glenn crossed the plate. The Hawks scoring in the second was capped off by center fielder Breland Almadova’s 2- RBI line drive single to left that plated Perez and Velazquez. The speedy Almadova tried to take second on the throw, but was caught on the base path 7-2-4 to end the inning with the Hawks in front 5-1.
South Bend (73-44, 29-19) added runs in the third and fourth. In the third, right fielder Socrates Brito led off with a duck snort to shallow center. Ross then issued back-to-back walks to Drury and Aguila to load the bases and end his night early as he was replaced by Matthew Chabot. Glenn worked a sacrifice fly to right to score Brito and expand the South Bend lead to 6-1. After Brian Adams inched the TinCaps closer with a solo homer to left in the top of the fourth, the Silver Hawks countered in the bottom of the inning. Velazquez hit a nubber down the third base line that went for an infield single as the pitcher and third baseman watched hoping the ball would roll foul. After stealing second, Velazquez moved up to third on Pena’s grounder to first. A 6-3 groundout allowed Almadova to collect his third RBI on the night as Velazquez scored to give the Hawks a 7-2 advantage.
After 5 innings that saw Perry (W, 7-5) limit the TinCaps (60-56, 17-30) to two runs on six hits, while striking out five, manager Mark Haley went to the bullpen for Tyler Green. The TinCaps mustered four runs against Green in just 2/3 innings of work. Daal launched a first pitch offering into the Tiki Hut in left for a solo homerun. Smith reached on an infield single and quickly stole second. Shortstop Tyler Stubblefield lifted a double to the left field corner allowing Smith to cross home. However, the TinCaps were not done yet, as center fielder Alberth Martinez singled to shallow center, scoring Stubblefield from second. This brought an early end to Green’s night on the mound as Yoimer Camacho entered in relief. Camacho got off to a rough start by firing two wild pitches to the backstop, with his second allowing Martinez to cross the plate to cut the Hawks lead to 7-6.
The Hawks epitomized the “bend but don’t break” defense the remainder of the game. In the eighth, Smith led off by drawing a walk from Camacho. Stubblefield followed with a sacrifice bunt back to the pitcher. Camacho fielded the ball and fired towards second in an attempt to get Smith. However, Camacho’s throw was wild and ended up in center, allowing Smith to advance to third and Stubblefield to second on the throwing error. South Bend’s defense then kicked in as Camacho induced two consecutive groundouts (5-3 by Martinez and 1-3 to third baseman Gabriel Quintana) that held the tying run at third. The decision to intentionally walk second baseman Diego Goris proved genius as Tejada followed with an inning ending groundout. Tejada smashed a ball off the turf that Camacho threw his body in front of, blocking the ball, allowing him to make the toss to first for the out and preserve the 7-6 lead.
The Silver Hawks turned to Jose Jose (S, 5) to close the door on the TinCaps in the ninth. With a little defensive help of his own, Jose delivered as he collected his fifth save of the season. Pena made a great diving grab of a line drive off the bat of Smith for the final out of the ball game as the Hawks celebrated the sweep with fireworks.
The Silver Hawks head out for a six game road trip starting Saturday night at Comstock Park, Michigan, where they will face the Class-A Affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, the West Michigan Whitecaps. Brad Allen (6-6, 5.10) will start for South Bend; Endrys Briceno (7-6, 3.91) will take the mound for West Michigan. After three games at West Michigan, the Hawks head to Ohio to take on the Lake County Captains, Class-A Affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, beginning on August 14.
The team returns to South Bend on Saturday August 17, when they will welcome the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the Class-A Affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays for four games. Get to the park early next Saturday, as the first 500 fans through the gates will receive an Archie Bradley bobblehead. Bradley was a first round draft pick (7th overall) of the Diamondbacks in 2011. He is currently a member of the Class-AA Mobile Bay Bears, where he was a Southern League All-Star selection and pitched for the United States in the MLB Futures Game. In 2012 in South Bend, Bradley held opponents to a .181 batting average, leading the Midwest League.
If you don’t make through the gates in time to pick up a bobblehead, don’t despair. The 586th fan through the gates will be the Five Millionth fan in South Bend White Sox/Silver Hawks history. The 5 millionth fan will win an all-expense paid trip to Disney World for four people.
Other promotions include Fan Appreciation Night Fireworks, the Flat Screen Giveaway where the Silver Hawks will give away nine 39" flat screen tv's from hhgregg. And everyone’s a winner, as Jake the famous Diamond Dog will entertain at the Cove.