Hot Rods Sweep Cubs in Doubleheader 4-3, 7-2
Bowling Green, KY: After a dramatic and tide-turning win in game one of their series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods, the South Bend Cubs had the opportunity to win the four-game set on Monday night in Kentucky. Due to a rain-out yesterday, the two club's were slated to play two. With late rallies in each game, Bowling Green edged the Cubs and took the doubleheader sweep by finals of 4-3 and 7-2.
In game one, the Cubs quickly fell behind 3-0 after just one inning of play. Since doubleheader games are just seven innings apiece, this left South Bend in an early bind. But thanks to quality relief by right-hander Fauris Guerrero, the Cubs were able to mount a comeback.
Guerrero entered game one after starter Carlos Vega needed 48 pitches to record three outs to start the night. The righty out of New Mexico walked five batters and surrendered the three earned runs. However, Vega was brought off the hook by Guerrero as he struck out six Hot Rods through 3.2 innings pitched.
The South Bend comeback all took place throughout the top of the 4th inning. Starting with a RBI double from Nelson Maldonado, and then a sacrifice fly RBI by Jake Slaughter, the Cubs began to get their momentum building. Later in the frame, Nelson Velazquez tied the game with a solo home run and his fourth round tripper this year.
Bowling Green, however, had an answer. After Guerrero exited with two outs in the bottom of the 5th, lefty Brandon Hughes worked the final 1.1 innings of game one. The eventual game winning hit came off of Hughes in the 5th inning, but the run was charged to Guerrero. Chris Betts, the 2019 Midwest League Home Run Derby Champion, gave the Hot Rods the lead on a RBI single.
The Cubs did not score in either the 6th or 7th and dropped game one 4-3. In game two, it was South Bend who took the early 1-0 lead in the top of the 1st. One of Tampa Bay's top pitching prospects, Shane Baz, was forced out of the game after just 0.2 innings due to pitch count. The young right-hander needed 36 pitches to record two outs.
The 1st inning run was produced when second baseman Jonathan Aranda made an error on a ball hit by Maldonado.
But again, the Hot Rods answered. Bowling Green plated seven combined runs between the 3rd and 6th innings to comeback and beat the Cubs in game two 7-2. South Bend rallied late with a Fidel Mejia RBI double, but Bowling Green closed out the twin bill sweep and secured their playoff position in the Eastern Division.
Due to Lansing also losing tonight, the South Bend Cubs magic number is down to just four. They will have the opportunity to finish off the series with a tie tomorrow night at 7:35 PM. Right-hander Zach Mort is the expected starter for the Cubs.
After departing Bowling Green, the Cubs will play three games at Fort Wayne and then will close the regular season at Four Winds Field in a key three-game set versus the Hot Rods.
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