Diaz' 9th-Inning Slam Caps Comeback Win

Alberto Diaz hit a 9th-inning grand slam to help the South Bend Silver Hawks overcome a 3-0 deficit and defeat the Kane County Cougars 7-3 Saturday night. Sean Morgan made his first professional start, while Taylor Sinclair and Jordan Meaker combined for six shutout innings of relief to keep things close for Diaz and the Silver Hawks offense.

Geneva, IL - Alberto Diaz blasted a grand slam as part of a six-run ninth inning, rallying the South Bend Silver Hawks past the Kane County Cougars for a 7-3 victory Saturday night.

The Silver Hawks trailed 3-1 entering the ninth, but rallied for six runs on four hits and four walks to pull out the win against Kane County. With one out, Chris Davis and Isaias Asencio hit back-to-back doubles down the left field line to make it a one-run ballgame. After a groundout put the tying run at third with two outs, back-to-back walks from the top of the order loaded the bases, setting the stage for Diaz's dramatic home run.

"I knew [Kane County closer Jose Guzman] was having trouble throwing strikes, and I just wanted to get a good pitch to hit," said leadoff batter Brendan Duffy, whose walk preceded Jacob Elmore's.  "My approach is that I'm not going to let him get me out, I'm just going to get a good pitch.  I was just glad to get on and let the other guys behind me do what they did."

Of the guys behind him, Diaz made the biggest splash.  On the first pitch he saw from Guzman, Diaz lined an opposite field grand slam into the right field seats, putting the Silver Hawks ahead 6-3. It was the second grand slam this season for South Bend, and Diaz's third home run of the year.

"I tell you what, Diaz is an exceptional kid," South bend manager Mark Haley said.  "I look at guys like Diaz, and think of Magglio Ordonez at that age.  You hate to compare guys, but when I had Magglio at his age, there are a lot of similarities in just overall instincts.  Diaz has got a little more speed, but I see a potential power there.  There's a lot of good things in Diaz.  He's a good athlete and a very mature kid for his age."

The Silver Hawks added another run after Josue Selenis relieved Guzman and walked two more batters.  Alfredo Marte then drove in Justin Parker with a line drive single for the 7-3 lead.

Chris Davis tags out Grant Desme in a rundown

Jordan Meaker pitched scoreless baseball in the eighth and ninth for his first win of the year. Southpaw Taylor Sinclair was perhaps the unsung hero of the game, throwing 4.0 shutout innings and allowing just one hit in relief of Sean Morgan.

"We're going to give him a lot of innings in the middle of the game and see how he does," Haley said of the sidearming Sinclair.  "He's a smart kid.  He possibly could [become a regular starter]; we just have to get him more innings."

The Cougars scored all their runs in the third against Morgan, who was making his first start of his professional career after headlining the Tulane rotation in the 2006 and 007 seasons.  After breezing through the first two innings, Morgan struggled in the third. Back-to-back singles by Jeremy Barfield and Mitch LeVier started the inning, and then a walk loaded the bases. After a wild pitch made it 1-0 Kane County, Jason Christian singled to center, scoring two and extending the lead to 3-0.   Morgan got out of the jam by inducing Grant Desme into an inning-ending 5-4-3 double play.

"I wish I could have one pitch back, but that's my only complaint of the day," Morgan said of his return to the starter's role.  "Otherwise, it was good."

The loss by Kane County spoiled a strong outing from soft-tossing starter Anthony Capra . Capra allowed two walks and a hit in the first, and then two hits to start the fourth, but got out of the jams on his way to a stellar outing. Capra threw 100 pitches in shutting out the Silver Hawks for seven innings, striking out eight, and not walking a batter after the first. The left-hander seemed to get better as the game progressed, as seven of his eight strikeouts were in the fourth inning or later, including four in the final five batters Capra faced.

Hawk Droppings

* The Hawks were victorious despite being caught stealing twice without a successful attempt while the Cougars stole five bases without being caught

* Left-handed batters are now 1-for-13 (.077) against Sinclair this year

* Diaz is now 12-for-37 (.324) with two doubles and two homers when runners are on base

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