EASTLAKE, Ohio – The South Bend Silver Hawks (33-19) jumped out to an early 3-0 lead and took game one of the series over the Lake County Captains (18-35) 4-1 on Wednesday evening at Classic Park.
South Bend now holds a 3-1 advantage against Lake County in 2014.
After the Captains’ starter Jordan Milbrath cruised through the first inning, South Bend took the first lead of the game in the second.
Designated hitter Steve McQuail led off with a single before right fielder Stryker Trahan hit his fifth home run of the season. The two-run shot to right field opened a 2-0 lead for the visitors. The home run was Milbrath’s first one given up this season through 43.2 innings pitched.
South Bend added a run in the third to take a three run lead. Shortstop Andrew Velazquez walked and advanced to third on a single by second baseman Jamie Westbrook. First baseman Daniel Palka plated Velazquez from third with a sacrifice fly to left field.
The Captains scored their only run of the game in the fourth inning.
Second baseman Paul Hendrix continued with his hot bat as he doubled to start the potential rally. First basemanNellie Rodriguez followed with a double to right field, plating Hendrix for his 22nd RBI of the season. Later in the inning, the Captains had the leading run at the plate but the rally was extinguished by a double play.
Milbrath pitched into the sixth inning but took the loss, his sixth of the year. He allowed three runs on four hits in 5.1 innings. He walked three and struck out a season-high seven batters. Southpaw Wander Beras entered with one on and one out and escaped the inning without any other problems.
Sean Furney had his best start as a Silver Hawk with six innings of one-run ball. He allowed seven hits but limited the damage to that lone run. He did not walk a batter and struck out four. Tom Jameson threw a scoreless seventh inning with one walk.
South Bend added some insurance in the eighth inning to increase the lead to 4-1.
Westbrook and Palka walked and singled, respectively, to start the inning. A fielder’s choice erased Palka but Westbrook moved to third. Beras struck out Trahan and that is when Captains’ manager Mark Budzinski made the call to the bullpen. Budzinski brought in Ben Heller with two on and two out. Heller gave up a RBI single to left fielder Zach Esquerra, scoring Westbrook from third. Heller walked a batter to load the bases but induced an inning-ending groundout.
Beras was charged with one run allowed on one hit in 2.1 innings of work. He walked one and struck one out. Heller pitched 1.1 innings of shutout ball despite one hit and two walks.
In the game, Lake County outhit South Bend nine to six. Hendrix had his team-leading third three hit game of the season as he singled twice and doubled once. Designated hitter Anthony Santander had two doubles in the game.
The middle game of the series features a 11:00 a.m. start on Thursday. Lake County is set to send Caleb Hamrick (1-2, 8.07) to the mound, in place of RHP Adam Plutko, who was promoted to Carolina before the game Wednesday. He is scheduled to be opposed by lefty Hector Hernandez (2-0, 2.81).