SOUTH BEND — Towering home runs and solid pitching performances pushed the South Bend Silver Hawks to a 3-1 victory over the Great Lakes Loons (38-39) Thursday, June 26, at Four Winds Field.
Long bombs over the right field wall from first baseman Daniel Palka and catcher Michael Perez provided the runs. South Bend starter John Omahen pitched six scoreless innings before turning the game over to the bullpen to complete the 2-1 series win.
While the South Bend (43-33) offense came out firing in the first, the first five innings belonged to the starting pitchers. Hawks shortstop Andrew Velazquez led off the bottom of the first with a double down the left field line. With the hit he extended his streak of consecutive games of reaching base to 56.
Loons starter Zachary Bird (L, 4-9) regrouped and kept the Hawks off the scoreboard through five innings. South Bend starting hurler, John Omahen (W, 3-2) tossed scoreless innings, surrendering no runs, giving up only two hits while striking out four.
The South Bend Silver Hawks, Class-A affiliate of the Arizona Diamondbacks, broke through in the bottom of the sixth. Center fielder Breland Almadova led off the frame with a walk. First baseman Daniel Palka continued his display of power with a monstrous homer over the right field fence and into the parking lot. Palka’s Midwest League leading 14th blast of the season came on a 1-2 offering from Bird and pushed the Silver Hawks in front 2-0.
The Hawks added an insurance run in the seventh. Catcher Michael Perez led off with a home run to right off Loons reliever Jordan Hershiser. South Bend’s bullpen then kept the Loons at bay through the seventh and eighth. Jose Jose and Will Locante each threw a scoreless inning and combined for three strikeouts.
The Hawks return to action Friday night when their Hoosier State rivals, the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the Class-A affiliate of the San Diego Padres, arrive at Four Winds Field to begin a three game weekend series. Blake Perry (5-2, 3.63) gets the start for South Bend. Kyle Lloyd (2-1, 4.06) is scheduled to take the mound for Fort Wayne.