Silver Hawks Stay Scoreless in Burlington

The South Bend Silver Hawks were shut out for the second straight night in Burlington, this time in an embarrassing 12-0 rout. In order to capture the Midwest League Championship title, South Bend must now win three straight home contests.

The South Bend Silver Hawks lost Wednesday night by a 6-0 score, with phenom Jarrod Parker allowing an uncharacteristic four runs in five innings and converted starter Jordan Norberto allowing two more in three innings of relief.  Meanwhile, the Hawks' offense was limited to no runs and just two hits in the loss.

Thursday brought no relief.  While South Bend doubled their hit output to four, the Burlington Bees doubled their run output to 12 and still held the Hawks scoreless.  Christian Beltre got tanked for the second time this postseason, this time a Turbo Tanking in which Beltre allowed five runs without surviving the first inning.

Manager Mark Haley once again turned to the versatile Thomas Layne to relieve Beltre, but while Layne once again ate some innings and saved the bullpen arms, he was touched for eight hits, three walks, and seven runs in 4.1 innings himself.

Linton is batting .308 this postseason

Layne was followed by Daniel Fournier and William Spottiswood, the lone bright spots so far in the series from the Hawks' perspective.  Those two combined to strike out five Bees in three shutout innings.

Leadoff man Ollie Linton is the only Silver Hawk who can lay claim to multiple hits in the series, having doubled in Game One and reached base twice in Game Two.  The position player having far and away the worst go of it is Elijah Rumler.  The third baseman has committed seven errors in the postseason after being named the Silver Hawks' Most Outstanding Defensive Player at the regular season's end. In addition, he hasn't collected a single hit in the playoffs.

Since August 23rd, South Bend has not lost a game in which they have scored at least three runs, but even a modicum of offense would not have been sufficient to win either of these contests in Burlington.  The two consolations for the Silver Hawks are that they have the remaining three games at home and that they have three excellent pitchers slated to start the remainder of the series in Patrick McAnaney (2-1, 1.50), Josh Collmenter (12-8, 3.41), and Bryan Henry (4-6, 3.10).  Of late, however, the Silver Hawks have played better ball on the road than they have at home.  

"When you're on the road, you're together a lot, and you're there for one purpose, to win a ballgame," Haley explained in August.  "There's a comfort zone sometimes.  South Bend's a great city; there's great people around here.  We try to create things as comfortable as possible.  You get distracted at times, but we're addressing that."

We can be sure that after being outscored the past two games 18-0, no one in the Silver Hawks clubhouse is comfortable, and we can also be sure that they won't get distracted with every game from here on out being an elimination game.   The question that remains is, can this team of overachievers that have been underdogs all season long pull off yet another upset and come back from this 2-0 deficit?

They turned around this season after starting 0-9, so if any team can do it, it's Mark Haley's South Bend Silver Hawks.

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