SOUTH BEND, IN-The Lake County Captains (2-0) scored seven runs to take the lead and they made it stick as they took game 2 on Thursday night 7-2. The Captains swept the South Bend Silver Hawks in two games to punch their ticket to the Eastern Division Finals. Lake County awaits the winner of the Fort Wayne-West Michigan series.
The Silver Hawks took a 1-0 lead in the third inning. Centerfielder Fidel Pena opened the inning with a walk and he moved to second following a walk to left fielder Chuck Taylor. Right fielder Justin Williams broke the scoreless tie with a RBI single to left field.
The Captains jumped to the lead with back-to-back homers in the fourth inning. First baseman Nellie Rodriguez hit a homerun to left field. Designated hitter Mike Papi followed with a homer of his own to center field. Lake County held a 2-1 lead going to the bottom of the fourth.
A five-run fifth inning blew the game open for the Captains. They used six hits in the inning to do the damage. Shortstop Ivan Castillo singled and crossed the plate on a RBI double by centerfielder Clint Frazier. Frazier’s double marked the end of the night for Silver Hawks’ starter Blake Perry.
Former Captain Nick Sarianides relieved Perry and he gave up back-to-back singles to right fielder Bradley Zimmer and Rodriguez. Rodriguez plated his second run with his single. Two batters later, third baseman Paul Hendrix doubled home Zimmer for a 5-1 lead. A throwing error by the second baseman plated two more runs.
Perry took the loss, with four runs allowed in four and one third innings. He gave up five hits, two walks and he fanned six.
The Silver Hawks broke through for the final run of the game in the sixth. Williams lined a one-out double to left field. Captains’ starter Anderson Polanco committed a balk, moving Williams to third. Designated hitter Trevor Mitsui plated Williams with a sacrifice fly to center field. South Bend pulled to within four.
Following the sacrifice fly, Polanco departed as Justin Brantley entered. Brantley got the final batter to ground out. Polanco earned the win, with two runs allowed in five and two thirds innings. He allowed four hits and two walks.
Sarianides was charged with three runs (one earned) on four hits in one and two thirds innings. Will Locante, Tom Jameson and Silvino Bracho threw a scoreless inning of relief for the Silver Hawks.
Brantley avoided a runner on third, two out jam in the seventh to keep the game at four runs.
Carlos Melo walked two batters but struck out one in the eighth inning. Jordan Milbrath got the final three outs of the ninth to clinch the series.
Lake County pounded out 11 hits in the game with eight different players joining the fun. Rodriguez had a two-hit game to go along with 2 RBI. Left fielder Dorssys Paulino and catcher Richard Stock added two hits.
The Captains advance to the next series, which would start Saturday regardless of opponent. The Fort Wayne-West Michigan series will conclude on Friday and that will determine the next series schedule.