The West Michigan Whitecaps fell behind early but completed a comeback in a 6-4 victory over the South Bend Cubs on a Fourth of July Thursday night in front of 6,945 caring fans at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The Whitecaps trailed 3-1 after five innings but used a three-run sixth to take their first lead. South Bend pushed a run across in the top of the eighth, but the ‘Caps sealed the deal with two big runs in the bottom half of the inning to win for the seventh time in the last ten games.
Whitecaps starter Adam Wolf was touched up for two runs through the first two innings, but the ‘Caps used an Andre Lipcius RBI-single in the third off Cubs starter Derek Casey to close the gap to 2-1. A Jonathan Sierra solo home run off Wolf pushed the margin to 3-1 after five, but the ‘Caps sixth inning proved to be the turning point. A Nick Quintana RBI-double closed the deficit to 3-2. After Dayton Dugas reached based on a Cubs throwing error, Zach Malis brought home two runs with a double and provided the ‘Caps with their first lead of the night at 4-3. The Cubs threatened in the seventh with no outs and the bases loaded, but outstanding relief work by Liarvis Brieto closed out the inning without allowing a run. The Cubs did tie the game at four in the eighth, but Malis once again came through with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly to give the Whitecaps a 5-4 advantage. A wild pitch scored Dugas to make the score 6-4 as the Whitecaps Jared Tobey closed out a perfect ninth inning to preserve the comeback win. West Michigan has won two of the first three games in the four-game home-and-home series with South Bend, with both victories coming after being behind in the early innings.
Tobey (1-1) picked up his first victory of 2019 with 1.2 innings of no-hit, shutout baseball, striking out three. Fauris Guerrero (0-1) took his first loss in relief, giving up two runs in 1.1 innings. Wolf went five innings, scattering six hits, no walks, and one strikeout. Quintans, Lipcius, and Dugas all collected two hits, and Malis’ three RBI gives him twelve in his last eight games. The Whitecaps improve to 28-55 on the year and move to the .500 mark in the second-half standings with a 7-7 record. South Bend ties the ‘Caps with a 7-7 record and 44-38 overall record.
The Whitecaps finish this four-game, home-and-home series with a Friday night contest against the South Bend Cubs from Fifth Third Ballpark at 7:05 pm. Pitcher Chance Kirby makes a spot-start for West Michigan against the Cubs Cam Sanders. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Mike Coleman begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:55 pm. Tickets are available for any Whitecaps 2019 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.