Hawks Even Series; Elimination Game Tonight

After having scored only 60 runs over their first 21 games versus the Fort Wayne TinCaps, the South Bend Silver Hawks generated a nine-run third inning in a 12-7 rout Thursday night. The victory represents the Hawks' first victory in Fort Wayne this season and evens the series to force a deciding game three on Friday night.

Trailing 1-0, South Bend exploded for a season-high nine runs in the top of third inning, chasing Fort Wayne starter Erik Davis from the game early.  Davis was tied for the league-lead with 16 wins in the regular season, but he has had little luck against South Bend this year.  Including the postseason, he is 2-3 against a team that has only won five of 22 games against the TinCaps all season, including a 5.81 ERA.  That ERA is even misleading, since Davis allowed a half dozen unearned runs Thursday night.

After Jake Elmore walked to begin that cathartic third inning, A.J. Pollock lined a homer over the left field wall for a 2-1 South Bend lead. From there, the floodgates opened. Four hits, two walks, and two errors later, the Silver Hawks had scored nine times. Justin Parker and Elmore each had RBI singles, and Reynaldo Navarro added a three-run double to help account for the Hawks biggest inning of the season, in which they sent 14 men to the plate.  Navarro contributed two hits to the affair, while Elmore and Pollock each reached base in both of their trips to the plate.

Ryan Wheeler added a solo homer in the fourth and Navarro added a RBI single in the fifth to help the Silver Hawks blow open the game early.

Fort Wayne closed the gap, taking advantage of Keny Sosa's wildness. Sosa lasted only four innings, allowing six runs (five earned) on four hits with four walks and two hit batters. Vince Belnome had an early solo home run and Cole Figueroa added a two run single in the fifth inning as the main scoring plays for Fort Wayne.  The home team had rallied to turn what was once an eight-run deficit into a five-run game at 11-6.

Daniel Vasquez  took over in the fifth, and he, along with the rest of the Silver Hawks' bullpen, helped to quiet the TinCaps rally. Vasquez allowed only one run in his 2.2 innings on the mound and came away with the victory, then Victor Capellan  pitched 1.1 scoreless innings and Justin Mace recorded the final three outs of the game.

Pollock added an RBI double in the ninth inning to finish the night 3-for-5 with three RBI and two runs scored. Navarro also finished with three hits, driving in four in the big night for South Bend. Elmore scored three times for South Bend, as the team won for the first time in Fort Wayne this season.

Fort Wayne's Jaff Decker was ejected in the third inning for arguing balls and strikes and catcher Adam Zornes left with an injury in the fourth, weakening the TinCaps lineup for the second half of the game and possibly Friday's rubber match.

Hawk Droppings

* All nine Silver Hawks batters reached base and five collected multiple hits

* Pollock and Navarro - the first two batters in the lineup - accounted for seven of the 10 team RBI

* Pollock, Alberto Diaz, and Victor Estevez each contributed a stolen base

* Catcher Chris Davis and outfielder Isaias Asencio have yet to appear in the series

The deciding game three is Friday night at Fort Wayne's Parkview Field, with the first pitch scheduled for 7:05 PM Eastern Time. RHP Ryan Cook (11-11, 3.66 ERA in the regular season) will start for South Bend, and will be opposed by Fort Wayne's RHP Chris Fetter (2-1, 2.22 ERA). Pregame coverage begins at 6:45 PM Eastern Time on 1620 ESPN Radio and online at www.silverhawks.com.

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