FORT WAYNE, IN---Several squandered scoring opportunities came back to haunt Fort Wayne on Saturday afternoon, as they dropped a 5-2 decision to South Bend, in a Midwest League game played in front of 3,672 fans at Memorial Stadium.
The first missed scoring opportunity for the Wizards came in the bottom of the first inning.
With Luis Durango on at third base, Drew Cumberland over at first base, and one out, Lance Zawadzki hit a ground ball that glanced off the glove of Silver Hawk third baseman Eli Rumler and rolled to shortstop Matt Oxendine.
Oxendine originally retreated to the third base bag, however, when he saw the ball glance off the glove of Rumler, he tried to score. Oxendine threw to catcher Sean Coughlin, who tagged out Durango for the second out of the inning. Felix Carrasco then struck out to end the threat.
An error by Fort Wayne third baseman Andy Parrino opened the door for South Bend with one out in the top of the second inning.
Parrino unsuccessfully fought winds that were gusting up to 34 miles-an-hour in trying to catch a pop-up off the bat of Chance Wheeless, dropping the ball for an error.
Sensing an opportunity to take the lead, Derrick Walker, Konrad Schmidt, and Rumler connected on back-to-back-to-back singles off Wizard starting pitcher Jeremy McBryde, hits that, coupled with a sacrifice fly off the bat of Evan Frey, produced two runs and an early 2-0 South Bend lead.
Fort Wayne cut the deficit in half in the bottom of the second, and might have tied the game, if not for another base running mistake by Durango.
With Parrino and Shane Buschini on base (via singles) and two outs, Durango singled to left field.
Parrino scored easily on the play and Buschini advanced to third, but Durango was thrown out trying to reach second base on the play for the final out of the inning, leaving the Wizards still behind on the scoreboard by a score of 2-1.
Coughlin’s third home run of the year in the third inning for the Silver Hawks made the score 3-1.
The margin grew to 4-1, when a two-out double by Walker against Fort Wayne relief pitcher Geoff Vandel scored Taylor Harbin (who singled) from second base.
Once again the Wizards mounted a rally in their half of the sixth inning, as a double by Yefri Carvajal and walks issued to Luis Martinez and Durango enabled the to load the bases with two outs.
Angel Mercado pinch-hit for Brad Chalk and was hit by a pitch thrown by South Bend relief pitcher Josh Blake, scoring Carvajal to trim the deficit to 4-2 and keeping the bases loaded.
The threat ended, however, when Cumberland hit into an inning-ending fielder’s choice.
The Silver Hawks added a final insurance run in the top of the eighth inning on a sacrifice fly off the bat of Wheeless to complete the scoring for the day.
Josh Collmenter (3-3), who gave up two runs on six hits, walked four, and struck out four in 5.2 innings of work, received credit for the victory.
McBryde (1-4), who allowed three runs (only one earned) on five hits, walked one, and fanned four in four innings on the mound, was charged with the loss.
Billy Spottiswood pitched the final two innings and collected his third save of the season.
Fort Wayne will attempt to salvage a split of the four-game series when they meet South Bend again on Sunday afternoon.
They’ll send right-hander Mat Latos (0-2, 2.50) to the mound.
The Silver Hawks are expected to start southpaw Jordan Norberto (0-4, 7.46).
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