Beloit, WI - Saturday night from ABC Supply Stadium in Beloit, Wisconsin has officially set the South Bend Cubs up for an opportunity to earn their second six-game sweep of an opponent this season. With their win over the Beloit Sky Carp by a final of 2-1, the Cubs have
Beloit, WI - Saturday night from ABC Supply Stadium in Beloit, Wisconsin has officially set the South Bend Cubs up for an opportunity to earn their second six-game sweep of an opponent this season. With their win over the Beloit Sky Carp by a final of 2-1, the Cubs have won the first five games of this series and now have brought their winning streak to 10 consecutive victories.
South Bend is also the only Midwest League team without a loss in the second half of the season. At the top of the West Division, the Cubs are still just one game ahead of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for first place. Wisconsin beat the Cedar Rapids Kernels in 11 innings tonight, so next week’s series when Wisconsin comes to South Bend for six games will be crucial.
For tonight, however, the Cubs continue their stretch as one of the hottest teams in all of baseball. Game five against Beloit was a grind for all nine innings. With a pitching match-up of lefty DJ Herz versus right-hander Evan Fitterer, two pitchers who are each top-30 prospects for their respective organizations, you know that it was going to be a solid ballgame.
Both pitchers exchanged scoreless innings to begin the game, but the Cubs got to Fitterer as he returned to the mound for his 2nd frame.
Fitterer picked up a strikeout to begin the 2nd, but after Owen Caissie drew a walk in the next at-bat, that started a run of five Cubs reaching base in a row. Caissie extended his consecutive games on base streak to 13 straight games. The next batter was Fabian Pertuz. Last night, Pertuz drove in two runs. He recorded his third in two games on a line drive to the right-center field gap. Caissie hustled around third base and scored the game's first run. It was a double for Pertuz, but he advanced to third on an error made by Beloit.
On the very next pitch from Fitterer, BJ Murray stepped up and laced a ball up the middle for a 2-0 lead. Pablo Aliendo singled and Luis Verdugo walked, but Fitterer limited the damage and the Cubs settled for two runs.
For the quick working lefty Herz, his pitch count was escalated in the game because of four walks, but he still made it through four complete innings. Herz showed a solid mix of the fastball, bender, and changeup and struck out seven Sky Carp batters. The lone run against him came home in the bottom of the 4th as Will Banfield drilled a double to the left field corner and plated Ynmanol Marinez.
Herz exited with the lead, but was unable to win the game. The first man out of the Cubs bullpen was right-hander Jarod Wright. On six days rest, Wright had plenty in the tank and shoved three innings of shutout baseball. He allowed just one hit and one walk, and struck out four batters. In total, the Cubs pitching staff struck out 14 hitters.
In the last two nights, South Bend added insurance runs onto the scoreboard before they went for the win in the bottom of the 9th. Beloit did not allow that to happen tonight, and it was a one run game after eight innings. Righty Zac Leigh worked a 1-2-3 bottom of the 8th, but in the 9th, the Sky Carp made a run for the lead.
Leigh started the inning by striking out Bennett Hostetler, which ended is six-game hitting streak. The next batter was the Midwest League’s top batting average man Marinez, who singled into left field. Dalvy Rosario then doubled to the right field corner, but Marinez did not score. After a walk to Marcus Chiu and a strikeout of Banfield, the Sky Carp had the bases loaded, the tying run 90-feet away, and the winning run at second with the bases loaded.
To end the game, Kyler Castillo popped out to center field, and Beloit left the bags juiced for the third time in two games. This time, it was supremely costly as the Cubs took the win.
With the victory, South Bend will go for the sweep on Sunday night. They will send right-hander Manuel Espinoza to the mound in the final game before they head home on Monday night for the Fourth of July clash against Wisconsin. First pitch in Beloit is set for 7:25 PM EST.