Two wins in three games gave the South Bend Cubs the series victory over the Lake County Captains this past weekend, their third consecutive series win. The Cubs are on fire at the right time, with seven wins in their last 10 games; they’ll likely need to continue that pace with the rest of the upper class squads in the Midwestern League East Division playing their best baseball of the year.
Cubs infielder Vimael Machin played like his name was Hitting Machin this weekend, with six hits, four RBI, a homer, and a steal to star for South Bend’s lineup. Catcher Wladimir Galindo also tacked on four hits and a homer of his own.
GAME 1: Cubs 5, Captains 2
A pair of RBI from Machin plus Galindo’s homer broke an early 2-2 tie, and Cubs pitchers Manuel Rondon (7-2) and Matt Swarmer combined strike out eight Captains while only surrendering seven hits. On top of racking up more Ks than baserunners, Rondon and Swarmer didn’t give up a single walk as Lake County’s hitters stayed mostly quiet.
Captains left fielder Connor Capel led the way with two hits and a double, and third baseman Jorma Rodriguez added a solo homer. Starting pitcher Micah Miniard (1-5) gave up four hits, two walks, and three runs in his six innings.
GAME 2: Captains 5, Cubs 3
All it takes is one bad inning to drop a game, and that’s what happened to South Bend in this one. Leading 3-1 in the bottom of the eighth, reliever Chad Hockin (0-2) quickly yielded a walk and a double, before a throwing error by Galindo loaded up the bases. Captains catcher Li-Jen Chu pulled a grand slam to left field, and that was that.
Captains reliever Alsis Herrera (2-0) tossed a pair of scoreless innings late to keep his team close and earn the win.
Outfielder Luis Ayala posted two hits, a run, and a walk to lead the way for South Bend’s lineup.
GAME 3: Cubs 5, Captains 3
South Bend managed to reverse their fortunes from the night before in this one, as outfielder Kevonte Mitchell’s eighth-inning homer proved to be the game winner. The Cubs once again got multi-hit performances from Machin and Galindo, and reliever Tyson Miller (4-4) delievered a clutch late-game performance with 3 1/3 scoreless innings.
Capel once again had two hits, and first baseman Jose Vicente provided the bulk of Lake County’s scoring with a two-run single in the second inning. Unfortunately for the Captains, reliever Michael Letkewicz (0-2) spoiled an otherwise excellent appearance by giving up Mitchell’s homer.
The MWL East standings remain unchanged, with the West Michigan Whitecaps atop the division, the Dayton Dragons (two games back) in second and your Cubs (35-21, three GB) in third place and refusing to go away. The Cubs will take today off and head back home for three games against the Bowling Green Hot Rods.