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Cubs Drop Friday Clash to TinCaps 6-2

Luis Verdugo, Kevin Alcántara and James Triantos all continue hitting and on-base streaks
September 1, 2023

Fort Wayne, IN - Since winning the series opener against the Fort Wayne TinCaps back on Tuesday, the South Bend Cubs have dropped three straight games at the hands of their in-state rival. Friday night saw the TinCaps grabbing the lead early in the game, and never relinquishing it, as

Fort Wayne, IN - Since winning the series opener against the Fort Wayne TinCaps back on Tuesday, the South Bend Cubs have dropped three straight games at the hands of their in-state rival. Friday night saw the TinCaps grabbing the lead early in the game, and never relinquishing it, as they stayed in postseason contention in a 6-2 final.

Brody McCullough took the ball for the Cubs on the mound, and he was opposed by 2022 number-15 overall selection Dylan Lesko. Still just 19-years-old, Lesko was drafted in the first round by the Padres, and looked sharp on a picture-perfect night in Fort Wayne.

The battle of right-handers was evenly matched early though. McCullough struck out the side in the 1st inning, in perhaps his most dominant frame in nine starts as a South Bend Cub.

Lesko was equally dominant though. His first three innings featured seven strikeouts, including him punching out the side in the 3rd. He also pitched with the lead early, as Griffin Doersching smashed his second home run in as many days deep over the left field wall for a 1-0 lead.

All of Fort Wayne’s scoring was done in the first four innings. The true turning point of the game, however, came with a 3-2 count and two outs in the bottom of the 3rd inning.

With McCullough still on the mound, he quickly recorded two outs in the 3rd. Anthony Vilar struck out, and Kervin Pichardo flew out. Nerwilian Cedeño caught a hold of a pitch and hit a gapper for a two-out double. The next batter was Sammy Zavala, and he walked. Lucas Dunn came up, and he worked a solid at-bat, getting it to a full count.

As McCullough was preparing for a pay-off pitch to Dunn, he stepped off the rubber and had the runner at second base Cedeño picked-off. Cedeño booked it to third, and McCullough chased him. In the process of tagging the runner, McCullough seemed to suffer a lower body injury, and left the game.

Max Bain entered for the Cubs in the middle of the at-bat to Dunn, and the Fort Wayne right fielder smashed a base-hit up the middle to score two runs. Bain got out of the inning when Colton Bender popped out to Liam Spence at second base.

The TinCaps added two more runs in the 4th, and led in commanding fashion 6-0.

South Bend was given an opportunity to come back in the game thanks to a superb effort late out of the bullpen. Nick Hull fired three shutout innings with no walks and four strikeouts. And Angel Gonzalez added a scoreless 8th.

The Cubs did get on the board in the top of the 7th on Parker Chavers’ first Midwest League RBI, and then again in the 8th when Felix Stevens mashed a single up the middle to score Kevin Alcántara. The 8th inning featured four straight base hits by Alcántara, Moises Ballesteros, Stevens, and Luis Verdugo.

Verdugo stretched his hitting streak to 12 straight games, James Triantos has been on base for 12 in a row, and Alcántara is on a nine-game on-base streak.

Fort Wayne closed out the win in the 9th, and South Bend will need wins on Saturday and Sunday in hopes for a series split. First pitch on Saturday night is set for 6:35 PM, and Luis Devers is scheduled to pitch for the Cubs.