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SOUTH BEND — The South Bend Silver Hawks (35-22) won a pitchers’ duel on a School Day at Four Winds Field as they defeated the Bowling Green Hot Rods (27-30) 3-0 on Monday, June 2.
South Bend starter Sean Furney (W, 2-1) celebrated his birthday by shutting down a Hot Rods offense that had scored 21 runs in the previous two games.
South Bend, the Midwest League Eastern Division-leading Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, scored the first run of the game in the bottom of the first inning. With one out, center fielder Breland Almadova worked a walk against Bowling Green starter German Marquez (L, 2-3). Marquez then tried to pick him off of first base, but his throw was errant and the ball went down the line into the Hawks’ bullpen, allowing Almadova to advance to third. First baseman Daniel Palka drove in the run with a long double off the center field wall that scored Almadova.
Pitching dominated the rest of the game for both teams as neither team could produce much offense. Furney completely shut down the Hot Rods as he threw seven shutout innings and allowed just two base runners on singles in the second and sixth innings, but neither man advanced past second. Furney struck out five Hot Rods, completing his seven innings in an efficient 80 pitches.
The Hot Rods pitching staff matched the Hawks by keeping the score at 1-0 until the bottom of the eighth inning. Marquez allowed just the one run over four innings of work while Colton Reavis struck out five in three shutout innings of work.
Stone Speer entered the game in the bottom of the eighth inning in relief of Reavis and surrendered two unearned runs in the inning. Shortstop Andrew Velazquez led off the bottom of the eighth by beating out a bunt single. With Velazquez running on a 3-2 pitch, Almadova hit a hot shot at the third baseman who was unable to handle it as the ball went into left field. The error by Ty Young put runners at the corners with no outs. Palka then lifted a fly ball to left that scored Velazquez for a 2-0 Hawks lead. After a strikeout for the second out of the inning, Almadova stole second and right fielder Stryker Trahan was hit with a pitch. With first and second and two outs, Westbrook hit a chopper to the left side that was booted by Young again at third, scoring Almadova from third for a 3-0 lead.
Bowling Green, the Class-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, could not muster a comeback in the bottom of the ninth. Silvino Bracho (S, 8) pitched a perfect final inning, striking out two batters and getting a weak grounder to second to retire the Hot Rods in order and complete the shutout for the Hawks.
The Hawks head out for a six-game road trip beginning Wednesday after an off day on Tuesday. They take on the Lansing Lugnuts, the Class-A affiliate of the Toronto Blue Jays, and the West Michigan Whitecaps, the Class-A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, on the trip. The Silver Hawks return home Tuesday, June 10, for a six-game homestand. The first three games will be against the Lake County Captains, the Class-A affiliate of the Cleveland Indians, and the final three will see the Hawks taking on the Whitecaps. First pitch on the 10th is set for 7:05pm and it will be a Triple Play Tuesday, where you can get a hot dog, drink and a game ticket for a total of just $10.