Hawks Eliminated After Bullpen Blows Lead

The Fort Wayne TinCaps scored three times in the bottom of the eighth inning, turning a two run deficit into a one run lead on their way to a 5-4 victory over the South Bend Silver Hawks Friday night. The win gives the TinCaps the series two games to one, as they advance to the second round, ending South Bend's season in the process.

Fort Wayne starter Chris Fetter struck out the first four batters he faced, but Justin Parker made sure he wasn't going to see three strikes. Parker unloaded on a first pitch fastball, driving it out of the stadium to left field for the 1-0 Hawks lead.

South Bend tacked on another run against Fetter in the third. With one out, Jake Elmore singled to right field and moved to second on a bunt single by A.J. Pollock. A passed ball advanced the runners 90 feet, and Reynaldo Navarro brought Elmore home with a sacrifice fly to center field, picking up his sixth RBI of the series and giving the Silver Hawks a 2-0 lead

South Bend starter Ryan Cook cruised through the first four innings, allowing only one hit and one walk while striking out four. Allan Dykstra broke up the shutout with a solo home run leading off the bottom of the fifth, bringing the TinCaps within one at 2-1.

The Silver Hawks answered in the top of the sixth, getting that run back and adding one more. Pollock started the inning with an aggressive double, taking an extra base on a hit to left field. Navarro followed with a double of his own, plating Pollock for the 3-1 lead and his seventh RBI of the series. Alfredo Marte then singled to left, scoring Navarro to put the lead at 4-1.

Fort Wayne would draw closer in the bottom of the sixth with a RBI single from Jaff Decker, making it a 4-2 game. Decker's ball was lined off the wall, but right fielder Alberto Diaz played it in quickly, holding Decker to only a single. This was a huge play for the Hawks, as Belnome hit into a double play to end the inning.

Cook was great for the Hawks in his seven innings on the mound, striking out six and allowing only two runs. After losing his first four starts to the TinCaps, Cook figured out Fort Wayne in his last two outings against them to the tune of just seven hits and three earned runs allowed over 13 innings.

Leading 4-2, South Bend manager Mark Haley turned to his two best relievers in an attempt to secure the victory. Victor Capellan allowed a one-out triple to Kevin Hansen and then walked two batters with two outs to load the bases in the eighth. Justin Mace was then called upon to pick up his teammate, but he allowed an RBI single to Vince Belnome and a two-run double to Cole Figueroa, lifting the Caps to a 5-4 lead.   Both Capellan and Mace were unscored upon the previous night, when the Hawks garnered their only victory in Fort Wayne this year.

Brad Brach  pitched a scoreless ninth, despite allowing a one out single to Alberto Diaz, to earn his second save of the series. Nick Schumacher earned the win with 3.0 scoreless innings of relief.

"These boys, their backs have been against the wall the whole season," Haley said. "I was really proud of them."

Hawk Droppings

* Navarro and Marte hit safely in all three postseason games, which extended their hit streaks to 15 and 13 respectively going back to the regular season

* Pollock and Navarro combined to go 11-for-23 (.478) with 3 walks, 4 doubles, 5 runs scored, a homer, and 10 RBI as the team's table-setters in the series

* The three earned runs charged to Capellan were only one shy of his entire total over 35.2 regular season innings with South Bend this season

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