Class-A baseball took center stage in northern Indiana this Memorial Day weekend, as the South Bend Cubs hosted the Fort Wayne TinCaps in what turned out to be a one-sided showdown of local rivals. Rain postponed the series opener, but a day off on Friday couldn’t help the TinCaps prepare for the Cubs’ arrival, as South Bend won the first three games to capture the series.
Fort Wayne’s win in the series finale snapped what had turned into a seven-game losing streak, but unfortunately the TinCaps now find themselves tied for the worst overall record in the Midwest League.
GAME 1: Cubs 5, TinCaps 4
League rainout rules shortened the first two games of this series to seven innings each, with both games played as a doubleheader on Saturday. In the opener, the game was tied at 4 heading into the bottom of the seventh, with Cubs centerfielder Brandon Cummings scoring on a wild pitch to clinch the game. South Bend reliever Pedro Silverio (3-3) threw 2 2/3 excellent innings of shutout ball to pick up the win, and designated hitter Yelier Peguero went 2 for 4 with an RBI triple to lead the offense.
TinCaps first baseman GK Young was a perfect 3-3 in the first of a series of quality hitting displays, but Fort Wayne was undone by reliever David Bednar (1-1), who allowed two walks, a hit, and a run-scoring wild pitch in just a third of an inning to hand the game over to South Bend on a silver platter.
GAME 2: Cubs 9, TinCaps 2
The nightcap on Saturday started out promising for the TinCaps, as a pair of RBI singles in the second inning by left fielder Tyler Selesky and catcher Webster Rivas put Fort Wayne up 2-0. But once starting pitcher Hansel Rodriguez exited the game in the fifth, South Bend jumped on TinCaps reliever Ben Scheckler (2-3) for five runs–four of which were unearned–and rode the momentum to a seven-run victory.
Four Cubs batters posted multi-hit games, led by catcher Jhonny Pereda, who went 2-3 with a pair of RBI. Reliever Dakota Mekkes (3-0) earned the win with two perfect innings in which he struck out four.
GAME 3: Cubs 3, TinCaps 1
The Cubs claimed victory in the overall series on Sunday, as third baseman Vimael Machin’s two-run triple in the bottom of the third turned out to be the difference in the score. Cubs starter Manuel Rondon (6-2) and the South Bend bullpen did an excellent job to limit the TinCaps to a single run, despite surrendering 8 hits in the game.
Selesky went 2-3 and Young drove in the only run as Fort Wayne only managed to go 1-5 with runners in scoring position.
GAME 4: TinCaps 3, Cubs 0
The TinCaps managed to avoid walking away empty-handed with an excellent game on Monday. Young was once again the featured hitter, going 2-3 with his third homer of the year, but the real star was Fort Wayne starter Logan Allen (3-2), who struck out five in 5 2/3 shutout innings and proved once again why he might very well be the biggest hidden gem of the San Diego Padres’ minor league system.
A trio of Cubs hitters posted multi-hit games, but the remainder of the lineup fell silent and wasted a quality start from South Bend’s Duncan Robinson (5-2), who only yielded four hits and a run alongside eight strikeouts over seven innings.
Having fallen to 18-33 overall, the TinCaps now find themselves 16 1/2 games behind the West Michigan Whitecaps for the lead of the Midwest League Eastern Division. They’ll head home for the next three days to take on the Bowling Green Hot Rods.
The Cubs, meanwhile, are now 31-19, only 3 games back of West Michigan. They’re off to western Ohio to begin a long road trip by battling the Dayton Dragons.