Cubs walk-off against Snappers on Byrd single

On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, after fouling off four two-strike pitches, Byrd singled through the right side of the infield and Zinn scored from third.
Published: Jul. 6, 2021 at 11:43 PM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (South Bend Cubs) - What a way to start the series. What a way to start the homestand.

The South Bend Cubs (23-31) knocked off the Beloit Snappers (26-29) 7-6 on Tuesday night thanks to a two-run ninth, including a two-out walk-off single from Grayson Byrd on the ninth pitch of the at-bat.

A back-and-forth game started with the Cubs scoring first on RBI base hits from Bradlee Beesley and Grayson Byrd in the opening frame. Beesley’s was a one-out RBI double and Byrd’s a two-out RBI single in his first at-bat ever at Four Winds Field.

Samuel Reyes got the start on the hill for the Cubs after Matteo Bocchi, who was originally scheduled to start, was scratched late. Reyes went two innings and gave up one hit, a solo homer to Bubba Hollins in the second inning.

In the fourth the Cubs added to their 2-1 lead. Nelson Velazquez launched his 11th home run of the season, the most of any player in the Cubs farm system, on a screaming line drive down the left field line.

Bryan King came in relief of Reyes and tossed 2.2 innings, allowing one run to come in on a two-out basehit from Connor Scott. That put an end to King’s streak of 7.2 innings straight without allowing a run. Jose Albertos came in for King and allowed the lead to get away on a two-run blast from Griffin Conine the next inning, Conine’s league-leading 18th homer of the season.

Down 4-3 the Cubs tied it right back up in the home half of that inning in the sixth. Facing the Snappers bullpen, South Bend ripped three-straight singles with one out, capped with an RBI single from Jake Slaughter that plated Velazquez.

But Beloit came right back and retook the lead with a two-run seventh. One run scored on an Albertos wild pitch and an unearned run came around to score on a sac-fly from Thomas Jones.

So the Cubs trailed again, now 6-4 entering the bottom of the eighth. Velazquez starting the inning with a single, his third straight hit of the game. He got to second on a weakly hit groundout to short and then scored on a two-out, two-strike single from Edmond Americaan. The Cubs had gotten it back to within a run.

They weren’t done.

Josue Huma doubled to start the bottom of the ninth on a line shot just over the glove of a leaping Conine in right. Delvin Zinn followed with a grounder to Ricky Aracena at second base, who booted the ball and fell to his backside. Zinn then stole second base, his 32nd steal of the year.

Yonathan Perlaza tied the game on a sac-fly to center but a Beesley groundout meant there were two outs and Zinn at third. Naturally, the Snappers intentionally walked Velazquez, and with two outs it was up to Grayson Byrd to break the 6-6 deadlock.

Byrd delivered. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, after fouling off four two-strike pitches, Byrd singled through the right side of the infield and Zinn scored from third.

Walk. It. Off.

Graham Lawson got the win after pitching a scoreless ninth, it was the first of his pro career.

Next up: Tomorrow the Cubs and the Snappers play game two of the series, with first pitch at 7 p.m. ET.