SOUTH BEND, IN- With the momentum in Lake County’s corner after a two-run ninth inning, South Bend’s eight-game winning streak seemed to be in jeopardy. The South Bend Silver Hawks (12-5, 52-34) rallied to win the ballgame in the ninth inning over the Lake County Captains (9-8, 36-51) 8-7 on Sunday afternoon. South Bend swept the Captains and clinched the season series 10-6.
Shortstop Andrew Velazquez hit an inside-the-park-homerun to lead off the ninth inning to tie the game at seven apiece. South Bend “walked” off on a bases-loaded walk with one out in the ninth.
Captains’ starter Luis Lugo ran into a potential jam in the first inning. Lugo loaded the bases on a single and two walks but Lugo struck out the last batter of the frame.
South Bend scratched across a run in the second inning. Centerfielder Breland Almadova doubled with two outs in the inning before crossing the plate on a single by Velazquez.
The Silver Hawks added a run to the lead in the third inning to make the lead 2-0. Left fielder Chuck Taylor led off with a single and advanced to third on a fielding error by left fielder Brian Ruiz. Daniel Palka walked to put runners on the corners. Third baseman Marty Herum singled through the left side to score Taylor.
Lake County opened the fourth inning with three singles in the span of four batters to load the bags. A wild pitch by Sliver Hawks’ starter John Omahen brought a run home to cut the lead in half.
The home team scored for the third straight inning with a single run in the fourth inning. Second baseman Ryan Gebhardt walked and moved to second base on a wild pitch by Lugo. Almadova bunted to move the runner to third base with one out. Velazquez hit a groundball to third base for a fielder’s choice to bring Gebhardt home. South Bend led 3-1 after four innings.
Designated hitter Clint Frazier went deep to right field in the fifth inning to bring Lake County within a run. His seventh homerun of the year was a solo shot.
South Bend used a three-run fifth inning to expand the lead to four. Designated hitter Joe Munoz doubled and was followed by an infield single by Palka. Munoz scored on a RBI double by Herum. Catcher Michael Perez brought Palka home with a sacrifice fly to left field.
Mark Budzinski made the walk to the mound to pull Lugo from the game. He brought in right-hander Justin Brantley with one out and one on.
With two outs, Gebhardt singled to the shortstop with Herum scoring on the play. Shortstop Paul Hendrix made a throwing error, moving Gebhardt to second. Brantley struck out the final batter.
Lugo allowed six runs on eight hits in four and one third innings of work. He walked four and struck out six.
Omahen went six innings before coming out of the game. He gave up two runs on nine hits with no walks and five strikeouts. John Shuttlesworth started the seventh inning.
Second baseman Claudio Bautista opened the inning with a single and he came home on a RBI double by Frazier. Two batters later, first baseman Nellie Rodriguez doubled home Frazier. Following a fly out, Shuttlesworth exited the game in favor of Will Locante. Locante was charged with 1.1 scoreless innings of relief.
Fink hit the third double of the inning, a RBI double to plate Rodriguez as the Captains cut the deficit to one at 6-5.
Shuttlesworth surrendered three runs on three hits in only two thirds of an inning.
Brantley threw two and two thirds scoreless innings of relief in the game. Brantley now has a eleven and one third scoreless inning streak. He fanned four with just allowed one hit. Trevor Frank entered for the eighth inning and retired the side 1-2-3.
Silvino Bracho entered to earn another save in the ninth. Right fielder Torsten Boss was hit by a two-out pitch from Bracho. Fink followed with a two-run blast to left field to give the Captains a 7-6 lead. His ninth homer of the year turned the momentum towards the Captains. Lake County singled twice but could not muster an insurance run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Velazquez tied the game with his inside-the-parker. Munoz laced an one-out single to center field.
Southpaw Anderson Polanco entered the game and walked the first batter. Fink could not field the ball on a potential fielder’s choice, therefore the bases were loaded with one out. Polanco threw four pitches wide of the zone and South Bend walked off, literally.
Frank took the loss, with two runs (one earned) allowed on two hits in one and one third innings. Polanco walked the only two batters he faced.
Bracho picked up the win despite the blown save and two runs allowed in one inning of work.
The Captains had 16 hits in the game. Fink led the Captains with a five hit game, including three extra base hits. Rodriguez had three hits while three other players had two hits.
Lake County will enjoy an off day on Monday and get back to it on Tuesday night at Classic Park. Lansing will come back to open a series against the Captains. RHP Mitch Brown (2-6, 3.61) will start for Lake County vs. RHP Brad Allen (3-1, 4.34)for Lansing at 7:05 PM.