Blair Brilliant as Beloit Bats Bedevil 'Benders
April 10, 2014HOOSIER SPORTS 365
SILVER HAWKS RELEASE
It was an old-fashioned pitcher's duel at Four Winds Field as the Beloit Snappers (4-2) posted a hard-fought 3-2 win over the South Bend Silver Hawks (2-4) on Wednesday night. The Beloit pitching staff struck out thirteen Hawks and the Snappers came through with clutch hits with men in scoring position to post their second consecutive victory in South Bend. The Hawks continued their early-season struggles with men in scoring position, going just 2-10, putting their season average at a miniscule .167.
The starting pitchers posted zeroes through the first two and a half innings until the Hawks managed to break through in the bottom of the third. Designated hitter Andrew Velazquez hit a ground ball single through the right side with one out to start the rally. Second baseman Jamie Westbrook beat out an infield single to short to put runners at first and second. First baseman Daniel Palka drove in the first run of the game with a two-out single to right, recording just the second hit of the season for the Silver Hawks with two-outs and runners in scoring position.
South Bend starter Aaron Blair kept the Snappers off the scoreboard through four innings, but Beloit managed to tie the game with an unearned run in the top of the fifth. After the first two batters struck out swinging, right fielder Tyler Marincov drew a walk. Blair then threw a wild pitch that advanced Marincov to second. Blair looked to have escaped the inning as he induced a routine grounder to short by Beloit first baseman Michael Soto for what should have been the third out of the inning. Josh Parr's throw to first was in the dirt and the E-6 scored Marincov to tie the game at 1.
Beloit, the Class-A affiliate of the Oakland A's, took the lead in the top of the sixth. Blair surrendered his first hit of the game as center fielder Boog Powell lined a single to center with one out. Shortstop Luis Baez drove in the go-ahead run as he laced a double off the center field wall with Boyd on the move with the pitch. Blair finished his outing by completing the sixth inning with his third strikeout of Snappers third baseman B.A. Vollmuth. Blair turned in a magnificent outing, allowing two runs (one earned) on just two hits and striking out eight. He has also struck out at least one batter in every inning he has pitched so far this season.
Despite pitching well, both starters ended up with no decisions. Bobby Wahl, the starter for Beloit, pitched 5 strong innings, scattering seven hits and striking out 7 while allowing just one run. Sam Bragg (1-0) entered the game to start the top of the sixth and quickly retired the first two batters he faced before hitting right fielder Colin Bray with a pitch. Bray promptly stole second before Parr singled up the middle to tie the game as Bray slid home just ahead of the throw.
Blayne Weller (0-1) entered the game in relief of Blair for South Bend, the Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks. Marincov greeted Weller with a single up the middle. He advanced to second on a groundout to first before catcher Phil Pohl was retired on a popup. Second baseman Sam Roberts was hit by a pitch and Powell gave the Snappers the 3-2 lead with a single up the middle. Roberts was thrown out trying to advance to third on the play but the run had already scored and the Snappers had the lead.
Bragg settled down after surrendering the tying run in the sixth as he retired the last seven batters he faced, including four strikeouts as he held the score at 3-2 going into the ninth inning. Lee Sosa (S, 1) relieved Bragg in the bottom of the ninth to close the game for the Snappers. Sosa walked two in the inning but got out of the inning by getting left fielder Stryker Trahan to strike out for the fifth time in the game for the final out.
The Hawks and Snappers close out the three-game series on Thursday night with first pitch scheduled for 7:05pm. Lou Trivino (0-1, 5.79 ERA) will take the hill for the Snappers while Brad Allen (0-0, 5.40 ERA) tries to salvage the last game of the series for the Silver Hawks. It's a Thirsty Thursday at Four Winds Field where you can enjoy a $2.00 22oz soda or 16oz beer all night long. There is also another chance to get your Silver Hawks magnet schedule as they will be available at the gates for the first 1,000 fans.