Whitecaps Stifled By Allen, Silver Hawks
SOUTH BEND, IN - The West Michigan Whitecaps and South Bend Silver Hawks battled all afternoon on Sunday, but in the end the 'Caps could not withstand a 13-hit Silver Hawks' attack in a 2-1, 10-inning loss at Coveleski Stadium.
West Michigan (15-18) nearly snuck out the win despite being out-hit 13-to-3, and will try to salvage a series victory over South Bend (21-11) in the rubber match of the three-game set on Monday morning. The Whitecaps, who have not had back-to-back road wins yet this season, will be gunning for their first series victory on the road.
Silver Hawks' starting pitcher Brad Allen was the star of the show on Sunday. In just his second Midwest League start, the 24-year-old righty pitched nine innings and allowed just one run on two hits, both of which were singles. Allen struck out nine batters without issuing a walk and did not allow a hit after the second inning, retiring 14 straight batters to finish his outing.
He did not figure into the decision, however, as the game stretched into extra innings tied at 1-1.
While the Whitecaps' offense was kept silent most of the afternoon, the Silver Hawks repeatedly mounted rallies that West Michigan was able to dance around. South Bend put the leadoff man aboard in each of their last three trips to the plate - and four of their last five - before finally breaking through in the bottom of the 10th.
Socrates Brito led off the decisive frame with a single to center against Whitecaps' reliever Chad Smith. With the dangerous Brandon Drury at the plate, Smith was trying to keep the runner close to the bag when his pickoff attempt bounced past the first baseman, allowing Brito to advance all the way to third on the error. After back-to-back intentional walks loaded the bases, Kevin Medrano bounced a single underneath the glove of third baseman Mario Martinez to score the walk-off run for the 2-1 final.
It was just the second run allowed all season by Smith (0-2), and the first against him since his second outing of the year on April 12.
Despite the stellar outing by Allen, it was South Bend reliever Frank Santana (4-0) that earned the win out of the bullpen thanks to a scoreless top of the 10th inning.
Whitecaps' starter Charlie Gillies did not figure into the decision despite a solid outing, allowing one run over six innings while scattering eight hits. Brennan Smith added two shutout frames of relief in the seventh and eighth, extending his scoreless innings streak to 18.1 in the process. All three West Michigan pitchers were able to work out of jams throughout the afternoon, stranding 12 South Bend baserunners and forcing the Silver Hawks to go just 2-for-12 with runners in scoring position.
While the 'Caps managed just three hits, one of them was an infield single by Devon Travis in the top of the 10th inning. That extended his hitting streak to 20 games, continuing the longest hitting streak in the Midwest League this season and surpassing Vince Blue's 19-game streak from 2004 for the second-longest in West Michigan franchise history. The franchise record is a 32-game hitting streak established by Robert Fick in 1997. While Travis's impressive streak now stands at 20, it will still be subject to the completion of Friday night's suspended game in Bowling Green, which is set to be completed next Sunday at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The Whitecaps continue their nine-game, three-city road trip with the finale of a three-game series against the South Bend Silver Hawks at 10:35 a.m. on Monday morning. LHP Jordan John (1-2, 3.90) is scheduled to take the mound for West Michigan against RHP Jesse Darrah (2-2, 4.25) of the Silver Hawks. The next home game at Fifth Third Ballpark will be on Friday, May 17, at 6:35 p.m. featuring an Avisail Garcia bobblehead doll giveaway for the first 1,000 fans. Group and individual tickets can be reserved by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
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