Loons Drop Series Opener with Silver Hawks

Loons not able to overcome early deficit, fall to South Bend.

MIDLAND, Mich- The Great Lakes Loons (13-24) began a three game series with the South Bend Silver Hawks (23-11) on chilly Tuesday night at Dow Diamond.

The Loons fell behind early on in the third inning after pitcher Jharel Cotton gave up a leadoff base hit to Breland Almadova and proceeded to walk the switch-hitting designated hitter Fidel Pena. With two men on, right fielder Socrates Brito knocked home Almadova with an RBI double.

South Bend was then able to add two more runs in the following inning, making the score 3-0 in favor of the Silver Hawks. Catcher Steven Rodriguez doubled to right field with one out and then Almadova tripled in Rodriguez on a fly ball hit to right center field. Loon's center fielder James Baldwin collided with right fielder Jeremy Rathjen on the play, but neither of them were injured on the play.

Right-handed pitcher Jharel Cotton was able to settle in and tame the Silver Hawk bats after giving up the three runs early on. Scattering six hits through six innings of work, Cotton turned in a strong outing in front of the home crowd.

"It wasn't a great outing, it just a good outing, " Cotton said after Tuesday night's game. "I gave my team a chance to win the ballgame and I gave it my best."

After Tuesday's performance, the right-hander is now looking forward to his next scheduled start.

"I think I made some quality pitches when it counted," said Cotton. "I pitched six innings and want to make another quality start."

The Loons were able to mark a tally on the scoreboard in the bottom of the seventh inning. Shortstop Jesmuel Valentin laced a leadoff double to left center field on the very first pitch of the inning. On the second pitch of the inning, Baldwin dropped in a bloop single just out of the reach of Silver Hawk's shortstop Pedro Ruiz. With runners at the corners, left fielder and leadoff man Robbie Garvey drove in Valentin on a sacrifice fly to center field.

This would turn out to be the only run the Loons would be able to score all night and they had no easy task at hand. South Bend starter Daniel Watts earned another victory, improving his record to 6-0 on the season after turning in a quality performance against Great Lakes. Watts went seven innings, scattered nine hits and struck out six while only allowing the single run.

"We didn't play well; we didn't execute like we should have," said Loons manager Razor Shines after the game. "We had some runners on in the first inning including a double and we didn't score a run," Shines said. "It could have been a different ballgame."

The Loons were able to get plenty of runners on base but anytime they managed to do so, they would squander the opportunity and let the Silver Hawks' pitchers off the hook. This would enable South Bend to create and cash in on more offensive opportunities in the later innings.

"We need to score more runs," said Shines. "The only column that I care about is the one to the left."

Great Lakes will now look ahead towards Wednesday morning for a scheduled 10:35 start time to continue their three game series with South Bend. Carlos Frias (3-1, 1.65 ERA) will be heading to the mound for the Loons and the projected starter for South Bend is Brandon Sinnery (0-1, 1.91 ERA). Sinnery played college ball in Ann Arbor for the University of Michigan. Wednesday's game is a School Kid's Day at Dow Diamond.

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