Live from Fort Wayne; Mobile clinches

<i>Fort Wayne – </i> Dirk Hayhurst went six solid innings allowing no runs and five hits on 73 pitches as the Fort Wayne Wizards scored four late runs to shutout South Bend 4-0. The Wizards are 5-2 in their last seven games.

Drew Macias went 4-4, with a double and two stolen bases. Matt Lauderdale hit a two run HR in the 8th to seal the victory.

The offensive star of the game, however, was Brian Wahlbrink. Wahlbrink worked an 0-2 count into a full count with two runners on in a scoreless game in the seventh. Wahlbrink then singled in Macias to break the scoreless tie. It was his only hit of the night but it was the only run the Wizards would need.

In both the seventh and eighth innings the Wizards put runs on the board with two outs.

Dirk Hayhurst retired the first eleven batters he faced after being sidelined for over a week. In his previous start, Hayhurst was hit by a line drive.

After the game Wizards manager Randy Ready stated, "Hayhurst looked really good, but seemed to be tiring a little in his last inning. He set the tone tonight, locating well and getting ahead in the count."

Ready explained that in June, July and August the pitch count can go as high as 110, but only at the manager's discretion. Because the Midwest League is the first full professional season for most of his pitchers, they tend to be on a shorter leash.

Henry Perez got the win, his first of the year, pitching a scoreless seventh.

-John Conniff reporting from Fort Wayne

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Mobile, Alabama -- Jesse Roman's three-run home run brought the Mobile BayBears back from a 1-0 deficit on the way to a 4-1 victory over the Montgomery Biscuits in the first game of a doubleheader on Saturday. With the win, Mobile clinched the Southern League Western Division First Half title. Mobile lost game two of the doubleheader 8-0 in a game shortened by rain to six innings.

The BayBears' split gives them a one and one-half game lead on the West Tenn Diamond Jaxx with one game to play in the pennant race. The title represents the BayBears first half-season title since the 1998 campaign, when they won both the first half and second half on the way to the league title.

By winning the half, Mobile qualifies for the Southern League playoffs in September. They will meet the Western Division second half champs in a best-of-five series starting September 8th. The winner of that series will meet the Eastern Division champion for the league crown.

Mobile trailed 1-0 in the bottom of the fifth inning when Steve Morales blooped a double to right with one out. Mike Richardson's infield single advanced Morales to third. After Ronnie Merrill struck out, Roman drilled a home run to right, his fifth of the season to give Mobile a 3-1 lead. Jake Gautreau and Ben Johnson connected on back-to-back doubles in the sixth to increase the lead to 4-1.

BayBears starting pitcher Chris Rojas (6-3) earned the win, tossing five innings and allowing four hits and one run with no walks and four strikeouts. R.D. Spiehs tossed a scoreless sixth and Brad Baker pitched a perfect seventh for his league-leading 18th save.

Mobile closes out the first half on Sunday at 6:05 PM at Hank Aaron Stadium. Brian Whitaker (4-4, 3.36) will start for the BayBears.

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