A battle between two of the Midwestern League’s hottest teams tilted in favor of the Bowling Green Hot Rods, as the South Bend Cubs dropped two out of three in a surprising series loss.
Despite a sub-.500 record, Bowling Green has now won seven of their last 10 games, while the two losses give your Cubs 11 at home for the year; they had previously been one of only three teams in the league with single-digit home losses.
The key cog of South Bend’s lineup was shortstop Isaac Paredes, who had been quiet against the Cubs’ last two opponents but tagged Bowling Green for five hits, three runs, and his third homer of the season. Outfielder Kevonte Mitchell now has seven homers this season after notching his third blast of the last three weeks during this series.
GAME 1: Hot Rods 8, Cubs 2
A short start by Cubs pitcher Jose Paulino (2-2) put South Bend in a hole they couldn’t dig themselves out of. Paulino gave up four hits, four runs, and two walks in only two-thirds of an inning, receiving a quick hook after facing eight batters. As a result, a two-run double by catcher Alberto Mineo was little more than a drop in the proverbial bucket.
Hot Rods starting pitcher Adrian Navas (4-5) did just enough, with two hits, two runs, and four walks surrendered in 5 1/3 innings. Toledo’s bats, however, were merciless. Center fielder Josh Lowe led the way with three hits, a double, a triple, and a steal; catcher Jonah Heim and left fielder Jesus Sanchez both tacked on multi-hit, multi-RBI games to add to the damage.
GAME 2: Hot Rods 5, Cubs 4
Tied at three heading into the ninth, Bowling Green got just a little bit more timely late hitting to seize the game and the series. Hot Rods infielders Michael Brosseau and Nathaniel Lowe reached on an error and a walk, respectively, and the Cubs’ bullpen couldn’t prevent them from scoring.
Sanchez struck again for the Hot Rods, with a two-run homer, and reliever Reimin Ramos (1-2) tossed a pair of scoreless innings to give Bowling Green a window of opportunity.
Mitchell’s homer and a two-run single by catcher Michael Cruz powered the Cubs, but a pair of unearned runs off of reliever Wyatt Short (1-1) in the ninth cost South Bend this one.
GAME 3: Cubs 8, Hot Rods 5
The Cubs dodged a series sweep by bringing the bats out for this one. Mineo had four hits, Mitchell had three, and Paredes went two for three with two runs scored and a solo shot as South Bend mustered 17 hits in this one.
Most of South Bend’s damage came in the bottom of the seventh inning, and reliever Chad Hockin (1-2) got the win in spite of himself after yielding four hits and a run in 1 1/3 innings.
Bowling Green’s offense was the model of consistency, as each Hot Rods hitter except for Heim got a hit in this one. However, they cost themselves a win by stranding a startling 11 baserunners. Reliever Spencer Moran (0-1) was tagged for five hits and four runs in a losing effort.
Now sitting at 36-23 for the year, the Cubs find themselves tied with the Dayton Dragons, who have lost three in a row. Both are three games back of the West Michigan Whitecaps for the MWL East Division lead.
South Bend will spend the weekend in Midland, MI for three games with the Great Lakes Loons.