Haase, Captains knock off Silver Hawks, 6-3
Eric Haase belted his Midwest League-leading 13th homer of the year on Sunday.
EASTLAKE, OH - The Lake County Captains (3-1) defeated the South Bend Silver Hawks (1-3) by the final score of 6-3 Sunday afternoon. The victory gave the Captains the series win over the Silver Hawks.
Lake County got on the board first in the bottom of the second inning. Silver Hawk pitcher Hector Hernandez (4-3, 3.45) started the inning by walking Captain third baseman Grant Fink. Hernandez was then able to get Claudio Bautista to hit a ground ball that should have been a double play; however, Silver Hawk shortstop Andrew Velazquez threw the ball into right field.
The error put runners on second and third with only one out. Designated hitter Brian Ruiz then took advantage of the mistake by plating Fink on a groundout to short, which gave the Captains the early 1-0 lead.
The Captains added to their lead in the bottom of the fifth inning. Bautista reached base on an error committed by Hernandez. Ruiz then followed Bautista with a base hit that put runners on first and second with nobody out. After shortstop Ivan Castillo advanced the runners with a sacrifice bunt, right fielder Logan Vick hit a single to left that drove in Bautista and Ruiz to give the Captains a 3-0 lead.
Hernandez was pulled from the game after he pitched five innings, gave up five runs, two earned runs, walked one, and struck out two.
South Bend was unable to mount much offense against Captain starter Jordan Milbrath (2-8, 3.39). In total, Milbrath pitched five shutout innings, yielded only three hits, one walk, and struck out four.
Needless to say, Captains manager Mark Budzinski was thrilled with his starter's performance.
"I thought he was great," Budzinski said. "He got back to his old self today. He threw the ball well and down in the zone. He mixed in his off speed pitches and was really efficient with his pitch count today."
The Captains used the long ball and took advantage of another South Bend error in the bottom of the sixth inning. Catcher Eric Haase led off the sixth inning with his team leading thirteenth home run of the season. After Haase's home run, left fielder Dorssys Paulino reached first base on an error committed by Silver Hawk third baseman Marty Herum. Fink then gave the Captains a 5-0 lead by driving in Paulino with a double to left field.
Haase finished Lake County's scoring for the game in the bottom of the seventh inning. After Vick hit a one out single to right, Haase plated him with a double that gave Lake County a 6-0 advantage.
The Silver Hawks attempted to rally back in the top of the ninth inning off of Captain reliever Carlos Melo. In total, Melo gave up two hits, walked three batters and allowed three runs to score in just one third of an inning. However, Budzinski called for Trevor Frank, who retired the only two batters he faced for the save.
Although Lake County has struggled for much of the season, Budzinski believed that the team's collective performance on Sunday could be a sign of things to come.
"I thought it was a great sign," Budzinski said. "We have guys who work hard every day and get their work in. Everything is starting to come together on the field. Offensively, defensively, our base running is getting better, and our pitching has been pretty consistent."
The Captains will now begin a six-game road trip starting in Bowling Green against the Hot Rods Tuesday night. Lake County is scheduled to send Dace Kime (2-9, 5.22) to the mound while Bowling Green will counter with Jacob Faria (3-3, 3.27). First pitch is scheduled for 8:05 PM.