The West Michigan Whitecaps offense could not gain any traction against good South Bend Cubs pitching and fell 5-1 on Friday night at Fifth Third Ballpark.
The loss gives the Cubs a split in the four-game, home-and-home series while taking two of four assures the ‘Caps of have either won or split each of the last three series they’ve played.
After tallying four hits through the first two innings, the Whitecaps mustered only three base runners over the last six frames. Cubs starter Faustino Carrera kept the ‘Caps off balance all night long, scattering five hits and allowing only one run while striking out a season-high seven. The Cubs opened the scoring with a solo home run by Chris Morel off Whitecaps starter Chance Kirby in the second inning. The Whitecaps came right back in the bottom of the inning as consecutive singles by Parker Meadows and Clark Brinkman set the table for Wenceel Perez, who delivered an RBI-single and tied the game at one. After plating a run in the fourth inning, the Cubs chased Kirby from the game in the fifth as Clayton Daniel delivered a run-producing double and increased the Cubs advantage to 3-1. Two more runs in the seventh inning for South Bend against ‘Caps reliever Sandel De La Cruz brought the score to 5-1 as West Michigan managed only two singles and a walk over their final 23 at-bats. The Whitecaps had only five runners in scoring position on the night as the defeat split the four-game home-and-home series. The Whitecaps hold a season record of 4-10 against the Cubs in 2019, but despite the loss have won seven of their last eleven contests.
Kirby (3-4) took the loss, allowing three earned runs and six hits. Angel Reyes came out of the Whitecaps bullpen to toss 2.2 innings of no-hit baseball, walking one and striking out one. Carrera (5-3) earned the win, tossing six brilliant innings while striking out seven. South Bend outhit West Michigan 9-6, as Rey Rivera was the only ‘Cap to reach base twice, with a walk and a single. The Whitecaps fall to 7-8 in the second half and 28-56 in 2019. South Bend moves to 8-7 and 45-38 overall.
The Whitecaps hit the road to Kentucky for a three-game series against the Bowling Green Hot Rods beginning Saturday night from Bowling Green Ballpark at 7:35 pm. Righty Gio Arriera starts for West Michigan against the Hot Rods Alan Strong. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty begins on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 7:25 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.