South Bend 0 @ Wisconsin 1
Every true baseball fan knows that the best kind of game is a 1-0 game. Every at bat, every pitch, every ball, every strike is meaningful. If anyone on the South Bend Silverhawks believed otherwise coming into Thursday, they changed their mind by the end of the night.
In 140 games this year during the regular season the South Bend Silverhawks were shut out exactly once. On two of the occasions Ross Ohlendorf made the start, the third time it was Koley Kolberg who was hung out to dry. In six post season games coming into Thursday the Silverhawks held a record of 6-0. Coming into the dugout Wednesday night the chant was, "We Need One More." No word yet on whether the Silverhawks were still chanting after Thursday's game.
Koley Kolberg again proved that the rumors of his demise on the road were greatly exaggerated. Kolberg was magnificent. Though he allowed a runner in every inning he pitched, only twice did the Timber Rattlers actually get a runner in scoring position, and they never crossed the plate against the Silverhawks right hander. Kolberg has now pitched 13.1 innings in two postseason starts, and though we haven't officially received confirmation, we're pretty certain his 0.00 ERA and 16 strikeouts (against only two walks), in his two postseason road starts have officially quashed the whole 'different pitcher on the road' thing for good. We're also pretty sure Kolberg got hosed Thursday.
Timber Rattlers starter Robert Rohrbaugh had three different games this season where he allowed zero runs. He worked five innings in one start, six in another, and seven in his longest shutout outing. The thing is all of those starts came with the Everett AquaSox of the Short Season A Northwest League. In case you missed the news, this Championship Series is taking place in the Lo-A Midwest League, a full level above where Rohrbaugh, a lefty who was promoted to Wisconsin for the playoffs, has worked, and he was brilliant allowing just three hits and two walks in eight innings. As good as Kolberg was, it was Rohrbaugh, making just his second start at the Lo-A level, who stole the show and kept the Silverhawks from winning the Midwest League Championship Series in a sweep.
How good? This good. The first two hits the Silverhawks managed were bunt singles. It wasn't until Jereme Milons lined a ball into center field in the eighth inning that the Silverhawks got a hit that left the infield, and it would be their only hit to the outfield against Rohrbaugh.
The lone run for the Timber Rattlers came in the eighth, and not the way the Silverhawks bullpen would want it to come. Reliever Chris Thompson walked the lead off man, who advanced to second on a sacrifice bunt. After intentionally walking the next hitter Thompson got a strikeout for the second out of the inning. Silverhawks manager Mark Haley again went to his pen, bringing on lefty Todd Stein to match up with lefty Thomas Hubbard, but Stein would walk him to load the bases. Back to the bullpen for Haley, and it would be Josh Perrault who would get the call. Perrault would walk the first man he faced, forcing in the lone run, and giving the Timber Rattlers the lead, and eventually the win.
A tough way to lose such a well pitched game, as the Timber Rattlers never did get a hit in the fateful eighth. Still, the Silverhawks carry a 2-1 lead in the series and will send Chris Kinsey to the hill, knowing that even if they aren't chanting it, they still need just one more.