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South Bend Cubs drop second straight in the ninth

Much like Tuesday night, South Bend began to chip away.
Published: Sep. 2, 2021 at 12:26 AM EDT
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SOUTH BEND, Ind. (South Bend Cubs) - It was a battle of top pitching prospects in South Bend, with the Cleveland Indians number eleven prospect facing the Chicago Cubs number nineteen prospect to start things off. Neither starter allowed a hit through the first two innings until the Captains offense exploded in the third.

Two of the first three Lake County hitters singled, then Micah Pries grounded a ball right back to Alexander Vizcaíno on the mound. The right-hander made a nice snag on a hop and fired to Jake Slaughter at third, but he could not hang on. Joe Donovan scored and sparked a four-run inning for the Captains.

The next three Lake County hitters would record base hits, with a two-RBI double from Johnathan Rodríguez and an RBI single by Joe Naranjo that gave the Captains a 4-0 lead. Vizcaíno got the next two hitters out and did not allow another hit after Naranjo’s RBI.

Much like Tuesday night, South Bend began to chip away.

It took another inning, but Lake County’s lead was trimmed in the fourth. South Bend’s first five hitters were productive, with a walk and a single leading to the first run of the game off the bat of Alexander Canario. His RBI base hit made it 1-0 South Bend. Bryce Ball walked and Jake Slaughter swung on the first pitch and grounded into a double play. However, the ground ball was enough to score Tyler Durna from third, cutting the Captains lead down to 4-2.

Two runners got on base in the sixth inning, and Yonathan Perlaza fell down in the count. He worked the count back full before he unleashed on Tim Herrin’s payoff pitch, sending a rocket over the wall in left-centerfield. He showed his excitement to the roaring crowd by turning his home run trot into a full sprint around the bases. Perlaza was clearly thrilled to give South Bend a 5-4 lead, their first in the series.

The lead wouldn’t last long though, as a hard-hit ball by José Tena ate up Perlaza in right, and he was charged with a fielding error that allowed Quentin Holmes to score from first and tie up the ballgame at five in the top of the seventh.

With one out and a runner on third base, Jake Slaughter made what may have been the defensive play of the year, diving to snag a smoked line drive by Jhonkensy Noel that saved a double. Tena tried to get back to the bag but slid right into Slaughter’s outstretched glove for the second out. Slaughter wasn’t done on the play, popping up and firing a strike to Ball at first to complete the inning-ending, run-saving double play.

He couldn’t save the game, however, as the first batter in the ninth inning broke the tie. Julian Escobedo hit his first home run of the season to give Lake County the lead for good. 6-5 is how it would end, as the Cubs went down 1-2-3 to finish off the game.

Yonathan Perlaza (2-4, 2B, HR, R, 3 RBI) hit his team-high twelfth home run of the year and his 53rd RBI on his go-ahead homer in the sixth. Tyler Durna (1-2, 2 BB, R) was the only other Cub to reach base multiple times. Despite allowing the game-winning run, Burl Carraway threw a solid two innings, fanning four Captains but earning the loss.

Next up: Max Bain (3-8, 5.65 ERA) vs Xzavion Curry (5-1, 2.62 ERA). South Bend looks for their first victory in this series after two tough ninth-inning losses. Join us at the ballpark for Thirsty Thursday and enjoy two-dollar 24 oz. fountain sodas and, if you’re 21 and older, two-dollar 16 oz. domestic draft beers all night long. Gates open at 6:00 pm and first pitch is at 7:05.