South Bend Cubs fall on play at the plate in the ninth
South Bend began a rally in the ninth, as a one-out single from Windham put the game-winning run at the plate in the form of Luis Vazquez.
SOUTH BEND, Ind. (South Bend Cubs) - The Cubs kicked off the final homestand of 2021 with a pitcher’s duel, no runs coming from either side until the fourth inning. Chris Clarke got the start for South Bend and was solid in his six innings of work, with a career-high eight strikeouts and just two walks. But he allowed the first run to Lake County on an RBI single from Johnathan Rodríguez.
Two opposite-field hits led off the sixth, including a Jhonkensy Noel single that plated a second run and gave the Captains a 2-0 lead.
In the bottom half of the inning, South Bend struck back. Alexander Canario stroked a one-out single to bring up the powerful Bryce Ball. Ball launched a 2-2 pitch into centerfield that was inches away from tying up the game. Instead, the Cubs settled for a run-scoring double, cutting the Captains’ lead to 2-1.
Jose Albertos relieved Clarke in the seventh, and after striking out Aaron Bracho to start things off Joe Donovan came to the plate and smacked his third home run of the season to make it 3-1.
After the stretch, the Cubs added another run. Bryce Windham took advantage of his first at-bat with a runner on and laced a grounder through the glove of Joe Naranjo at first base, easily scoring Pablo Aliendo to trim the deficit back to one run. The score remained 3-2 until the eighth inning when Bryce Ball struck again. This time it was an RBI single scoring Tyler Durna from second base, knotting things up for the first time since it was 0-0 back in the top of the fourth.
However, the lead did not last long, as the Captains took back control in the next frame. Johnathan Rodríguez stole second on a full count after leading off the ninth with a single. The throw from Aliendo was on time but too high for Luis Vazquez, and as the ball went into centerfield and Rodríguez advanced to third. Two pitches into the next at-bat, Danis Correa’s pitch trickled by Aliendo, and Rodríguez took advantage. The Captains’ first baseman scurried home and barely snuck in under Correa’s tag to give Lake County a late 4-3 lead.
South Bend began a rally in the ninth, as a one-out single from Windham put the game-winning run at the plate in the form of Luis Vazquez. But the first pitch of the at-bat turned into a game-ending double play and a heartbreaking loss for South Bend.
Bryce Windham (2-3, BB, RBI, SB) reached base in each of his last three at-bats to extend his hit streak to five straight games. Bryce Ball (2-4, 2B, 2 RBI) shook off a two-strikeout start to provide most of the Cubs’ offensive punch.
Next Up: Alexander Vizcaíno (0-1, 4.66 ERA) vs Tanner Burns (2-5, 3.88 ERA). It’s a battle of top prospects at Four Winds Field, as the Chicago Cubs’ number twenty prospect faces off against the Cleveland Indians’ number eleven prospect. The first 1,000 fans through the gates on Wednesday will receive a South Bend Cubs t-shirt sponsored by Toyota, with the first pitch coming at 7:05.
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