SOUTH BEND, Ind. In a neck-and-neck and low scoring series through the first three games of the Midwest League’s second half, the Bowling Green Hot Rods beat the South Bend Cubs 2-1 on Saturday night from Four Winds Field. Going into the finale tomorrow, the Cubs will look to regroup as their offense has scored just two runs to start the series.
In game three, Cubs starter Faustino Carrera hoped to become the first South Bend pitcher to reach five wins this season. Despite giving up just two runs in five innings, Carrera took the loss as the Cubs could not take him off the hook.
The Hot Rods plated each of their two runs in the top of the 2nd inning with Tony Pena having a role in both of them. With a runner on, Pena smashed a single into center field to score the speedy Grant Witherspoon for the 1-0 advantage.
With Pena then at first base, Carrera threw over to try and pick him off. However, Carrera threw the ball away and Pena sprinted around to score all the way from first. This would be the game winning run.
Out of the bullpen, Enrique De Los Rios made his return to Four Winds Field and tossed 2.1 innings of shutout baseball with a strikeout. Sean Barry finished things off with 1.2 scoreless frames and lowered his ERA to a miniscule 1.08.
Offensively, the Cubs got some help from their All-Star shortstop Andy Weber as he ripped a single in the 8th inning and plated Marcus Mastrobuoni. Mastrobuoni doubled into the left field corner to start the frame.
The game went to the bottom of the 9th with the Cubs needing one to tie and two to win. After a pair of hits from Christopher Morel and Jonathan Sierra, South Bend had the tying and winning runs on base with Gustavo Polanco at the plate. Polanco hit a hard ground ball to shortstop, but new number one overall prospect in baseball Wander Franco made the play at second to end the game.
The Cubs now sit at 38-33 on the season heading into the series finale tomorrow afternoon at 2:05 p.m. Right-hander and Midwest League All-Star Cam Sanders is the expected starter for South Bend.