Beloit, WI - The South Bend Cubs have put together their longest winning streak of the season following their 8-5 victory on Friday night over the Beloit Sky Carp. Now still unbeaten at 7-0 in the Midwest League’s second half, the Cubs still lead the division by one game on
Beloit, WI - The South Bend Cubs have put together their longest winning streak of the season following their 8-5 victory on Friday night over the Beloit Sky Carp. Now still unbeaten at 7-0 in the Midwest League’s second half, the Cubs still lead the division by one game on top of the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers. Heading into Fourth of July weekend, South Bend will play two more games in Beloit before they come home on Monday night for six games.
Friday night got started with some major adversity for the Cubs courtesy of Sky Carp lefty Dax Fulton. In his first three innings, Fulton shut down South Bend by striking out each of the first nine batters he faced.
The nine punch outs in a row to begin a game is a rare feat. It has only been done twice in Major League Baseball. Ironically, the only Modern Era player to ever do that was Miami’s Pablo Lopez, who accomplished the feat against the Atlanta Braves last year. Before that it had last happened in 1884 by Hall of Fame Mickey Welch with the New York Giants. It is not readily available information if Fulton was the first Minor League player to ever pull off such a rare event.
Joe Nahas was on the mound for South Bend in a spot start role. The strong right-hander did not match Fulton from a strikeout perspective, but he worked two straight 1-2-3 innings to keep the game scoreless. For the first time in the four total games, Beloit was on the board first in the bottom of the 3rd when Tanner Allen brought home Dalvy Rosario on a RBI sacrifice fly.
That run was quickly answered by the Cubs as they struck back and got to Fulton for a first time. Pete Crow-Armstrong and Yeison Santana each singled to start the top of the 4th inning. Crow-Armstrong eventually scored a passed ball that squeaked past Beloit catcher Will Banfield. Owen Caissie then ripped a base hit to extend his consecutive games on base streak to 11 in a row, scoring Santana. Caissie later scored on a RBI double from Fabian Pertuz.
As we went back and forth, the Sky Carp manufactured three more runs off of Nahas before he left the game with South Bend trailing. He was brought off the hook for the loss as South Bend tied the game at 4-4 on another Pertuz RBI in the 6th; Coming courtesy of a South Bend sac fly.
Once again, Beloit had an answer. Lefty Adam Laskey entered the game in the bottom of the 6th, and a solo home run courtesy of Midwest League batting leader Ynmanol Marinez put the Sky Carp up a tally again. The game went to the 7th, and the Cubs threw a punch right back.
PCA, who had four hits in the game, now has seven knocks in his last two games. He smashed his third triple of the series in the 7th, which brought home Casey Opitz to tie the contest again. The go ahead run scored courtesy of Crow-Armstrong as he slid in at third with his triple, but then raced home as the Sky Carp threw the ball away on the relay.
Elsewhere out of the South Bend bullpen, Hunter Bigge inherited a bases loaded situation in the bottom of the 7th, and the strong righty got Marinez to ground out to third base to end the inning. Bigge then fired a scoreless 8th, and South Bend looked to add onto their lead for some insurance in the top of the 9th.
That’s exactly what happened for a second straight night when Opitz walked to start the frame, and Luis Verdugo stretched his hitting streak to five straight games with a single. Verdugo ended the month of June by hitting .350 and has eight hits in this series. Crow-Armstrong then doubled home two runs and South Bend took the 8-5 lead to the bottom of the 9th.
Bigge returned for the 9th inning and struck out both Cody Morissette and Jose Salas, but he also walked to batters. With the tying run coming up at the plate, Lance Rymel made a pitching change and took Bigge out of the game for the fresh right-hander Sheldon Reed. On the only man he faced, Reed struck out Marinez swinging to end the game and the Cubs continued their dominant start to the series.
South Bend has already won the series with the first four wins of the week, but they can continue their winning streak to double digits with another victory on Saturday night. First pitch from ABC Supply Stadium is set for 7:35 PM with left-hander DJ Herz expected to take the mound for the Cubs.