SOUTH BEND, Ind. Luke Reynolds blasted his first Midwest League home run against the Kane County Cougars in the series opener on Wednesday night, but the South Bend Cubs could not complete their comeback and fell 3-2 to start the three-game set.
With Brailyn Marquez, the top pitching prospect in the Cubs organization on the hill, South Bend looked to continue their momentum gained from a three-win road trip this weekend.
The Cougars quickly jumped in front with a run in the top of the 1st against Marquez that was unearned. With Eddie Hernandez at third base, Buddy Kennedy scorched a ball to shortstop Andy Weber, who then threw to first base to try and double-up the runner Alek Thomas. Unfortunately for the Cubs, Weber threw the ball away and Hernandez scored from third.
In the 2nd, Reynolds hit his blast deep over the right field wall to tie it at 1-1. For Reynolds, that swing on the 3-2 pitch from Matt Tabor continued his hot day at the plate, as one of his final swings in batting practice produced a home run that hit off the video board in right-center field.
As the game headed to the 4th, Marquez allowed his only two earned runs of the night on one swing. Zack Shannon lined a ball the other way over the right field wall for a two-run home run. This ended up being the game winning hit.
The Cubs came close to tying it, as after shutout pitching by the bullpen in the middle innings, they made a comeback bid in the 9th. After a Clayton Daniel double, Andy Weber followed suit and smacked a double of his own down the first base line.
The clutch base hit scored Daniel and South Bend had the tying run in scoring position with just one out. However, the Cubs were unable to plate the tying run.
Combining for 4.2 innings out of the bullpen were Ivan Medina, Eugenio Palma, and Peyton Remy. Palma and Remy both tossed shutout innings in their return from the injured list.
With the loss, the Cubs fall to 47-40 on the season and 10-9 in the second half. They will have the opportunity to get back in the series tomorrow in game two at 7:05 PM. Right-hander Derek Casey is the expected starter for the Cubs.