South Bend, IN- Shane Baz tied a career-high with nine strikeouts while Seaver Whalen blasted two homers for the first time in his career but the South Bend Cubs walked off on the Bowling Green Hot Rods in the 10th inning of Sunday's 4-3 loss at Four Winds Field. The Hot Rods are 81-57 overall and 42-26 in the second half ahead of Monday's regular-season finale which carries a 1:05 PM CDT first pitch.
The Hot Rods and Cubs are set to square off in the Eastern Division Quarterfinal in the Midwest League Playoffs on Wednesday, September 4 at Four Winds Field in South Bend, Indiana at 6:05 PM CDT. Games two and (if necessary) three will be played at Bowling Green Ballpark on September 5 and 6 with both games beginning with a 6:35 PM CDT first pitch.
Bowling Green took a 1-0 lead in the second inning against Cubs starter Derek Casey thanks to a long ball to lead off the frame. Whalen stepped up to the plate and drove a 2-1 pitch over the left-field wall and into the bleachers. Whalen's fifth homer of the season gave the Hot Rods a one-run edge, but Nelson Maldonado homered in the bottom of the frame to tie the game at 1-1.
Whalen went deep for a second time against a rehabbing big leaguer in the fourth to put the Hot Rods in front again. Chris Betts singled to left to bring up Whalen against MLB Veteran Derek Holland who was on a rehab assignment from the Chicago Cubs. Whalen took the lefty's second offering over the left-field fence and put the Hot Rods back in front, 3-1. The Cubs evened the score in the fourth with two runs of their own on two hits with a pair of walks against Baz, who started the game for Bowling Green, making it a 3-3 ballgame.
The Cubs and Hot Rods remained deadlocked heading into the 10th inning after neither team had a hit from the fifth inning on. Despite having runners at second and third in the top of the frame, Bowling Green was unable to plate a run. Joel Peguero entered from the bullpen for the second-straight night and retired the first two batters in the bottom of the 10th, but Marcus Mastrobuoni bounced a ground ball to third to score Andy Weber on an error for a walk-off, 5-4 win.
Baz took a no-decision after allowing three runs on three hits with two walks and tied a career-high with nine strikeouts and six innings of work. Chris Muller tossed three scoreless innings in relief, striking out four. Peguero (3-4) suffered the setback, allowing an unearned run over 0.2 innings with a strikeout.
Notes: Whalen two homers in a game for the first time in his career… He had three RBIs in a game for the second time this season… It was his fourth multi-RBI game of the year as well… Sunday was the seventh time this season a Hot Rods hitter had two homers in a game… He joins Betts (twice), Jordan Qsar, Connor Hollis, Kaleo Johnson, and Wander Franco… BG had a player hit two homers in a game in every month of the season this year except June and July… Baz tied a career-high with six innings of work and nine strikeouts… BG finishes their regular season Sunday schedule with a 10-9 overall and 2-8 on the road… The Hot Rods are 27-23 in one-run games… They're 22-10 in day games… Hot Rods pitching retired 18-straight batters prior to the game-winning error… The Hot Rods and Cubs will play their regular season finales on Monday with a 1:05 PM CDT first pitch at Four Winds Field in South Bend, IN… BG will send RHP Zack Trageton to the mound… Fans can catch all the action with Shawn Murnin on Willie 107.9 FM and the Hot Rods Radio Network on the TuneIn Radio and MiLB First Pitch apps, available for smartphones.
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