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 South Bend Cubs

6-1 Lead Slips Away as Fort Wayne Storms Back Late

May 18, 2024 - Midwest League (MWL)
South Bend Cubs News Release

FORT WAYNE, IN - Exactly one week after the Cubs pulled off their biggest comeback win of the season, they had the script flipped on them on the road. Last Friday South Bend clawed their way back from a 6-1 deficit to take down Cedar Rapids and tonight they let a 6-1 lead slip away to the TinCaps.

The first batter of the game was indicative of the bizarre night that would unfold. Brett Bateman lofted a fly ball to shallow left and the Albert Fabian and Nick McClaughry collided at full speed, with Fabian making the catch for a split second and then dropping the baseball. Bateman stood at second with a leadoff double... except that the umps missed the ball pop out and ruled it an out.

Drew Gray struggled mightily with his control in this one and walked three batters in the first inning. He allowed a run in the inning but got some help from Ethan Hearn who snagged to the ricochet of a wild pitch and dove to home plate to get the final out of the inning.

The Cubs took a lead in the second as they loaded the bases on an error and two walks. Reivaj Garcia lofted a sac-fly deep to center to tie the game and Rafael Morel grounded out to short to bring in Hearn.

Through two innings the Cubs led 2-1 without either team having a base hit and the TinCaps having five baserunners.

For the second time this week the visitors were able to put up a four spot, and on this occasion go ahead by a 6-1 tally. With one out an no one on base, Pedro Ramirez and Jefferson Rojas singled back-to-back. Jonathon Long stepped up next and the former Long Beach State Dirtbag slugged one off the wall in left to clear the bases. Then with two on and two out in the inning, Garcia rifled a ball into right-center that Lucas Dunn dove for but didn't get a glove on. The triple extended Garcia's hit streak to 13 games and gave the Cubs their biggest lead of the series.

Unfortunately, tonight it didn't last.

Gray hit Ethan Salas with the first pitch of the third inning and Jay Beshears plus Fabian combined for consecutive doubles to bring home two runs and chase the Cubs starter. Nick Hull cam in and stopped the bleeding, allowing Fabian to score on a Devin Ortiz single but then tossing ups zeros in the fourth, fifth, and sixth inning.

After South Bend got a run back in the fifth, the score was 7-4 in the middle of the seventh. Hull got the first batter, McClaughry to record the right-handers fourth strikeout of the night. But the next two batters picked up hit and Hull's night came to an end, at the time going 4.1 innings without a run on his line. Jose Romero inherited both runners and the first batter he faced was Fabian who smoked a double down the line in right to tie pull the home team within a run. Romero bounced right back with a strikeout, but with two down Anthony Villar tied the game with a single.

Meanwhile the TinCaps bullpen dominated the late innings; at one point Jose Geraldo and Ryan Och combined to strikeout seven straight batters and the Cubs lone hit in the final four innings was a single in the ninth that ultimately got left at first.

Grayson Moore walked the leadoff man in the eighth and allowed Tyler Robertson to get to second base on a wild pitch. Lucas Dunn sacrificed the runner to third base and with one out Moore caught McClughry looking for the second out. Salas drew a walk to put men at the corners. With two strikes on Beshears, Moore tossed a wild pitch to the backstop and that's how the TinCaps took an 8-7 lead and won by that final.

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