(South Bend, IN) - The Lake County Captains (25-38, 52-80) jumped in front early and never looked back on Sunday afternoon at Four Winds Field. The Captains defeated the South Bend Cubs (34-29, 73-59), 9-6, ending the Cubs' nine-game winning streak.
Cubs starter Tyson Miller made an unfortunate early exit, just four pitches into the game. Luke Wakamatsu led off and ripped Miller's third pitch back off of the pitcher's right foot for a single. Miller then threw a pitch to Alexis Pantoja , but came out of the game due to injury. Bailey Clark came in from the bullpen and the Captains struck for three runs. Conner Capel knocked in Wakamatsu with a sacrifice fly and Logan Ice followed two batters later with a two-run home run to give Lake County a 3-0 lead.
Ice extended the Captains' advantage to 4-0 in the third. With Clark still on the mound, Capel worked a leadoff walk and raced to third base when Clark's pickoff throw skipped past first baseman Austin Upshaw. Ice then hit a fly ball to the wall in right and Chris Pieters made a leaping catch, but Capel tagged up and scored on the sacrifice fly.
The Cubs scored their first run against starter Juan Hillman in the third when Yeiler Peguero hit a leadoff homer to left, but the Captains responded with a monster fourth inning. Lake County slammed five hits and capitalized on a pair of Cubs errors to score four runs and take an 8-1 lead. Capel knocked in a run with a single and a second run scored on the play when Pieters air-mailed his throw from right field. Emmanuel Tapia then ripped a single to center and D.J. Wilson let the ball skip past him, allowing Capel to score and Tapia to go to second base. After a single by Ice, Jose Vicente grounded out to second, allowing Tapia to score.
Lake County was up by seven runs, but let a golden opportunity slip away in the top of the fifth. The Captains had the bases loaded with nobody out against reliever Chad Hockin, but the right-hander escaped. Alexis Pantoja bounced into a 2-3-2 double play and Hockin got Capel to ground out to second base to escape the threat. That is when the South Bend offense began to inch back into the game.
The Cubs loaded the bases against Hillman in the bottom of the fifth and scratched across a run on an RBI single by Pieters. Hillman escaped without allowing further damage, but the Cubs rallied again in the sixth. Hillman walked Tyler Payne with one out and then gave up back-to-back singles by Luis Ayala and Peguero, the latter of which scored Payne. Cesar Ventura relieved Hillman after the Peguero RBI single, but Andruw Monasterio singled against the right-hander to score Ayala. Aramis Ademan then hit a sacrifice fly that brought Peguero home and shaved the Captains' lead down to 8-5.
Ventura quieted the Cubs' bats after the loud sixth inning and the Captains got an insurance run in the seventh. Jorma Rodriguez worked a leadoff walk against reliever Tyler Peyton and moved to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Pantoja ripped a line drive that hit Peyton and trickled behind him in the infield grass. Rodriguez scored from third and Pantoja landed on safely on first. The single gave the Captains a 9-5 lead. Peyton proved to be fine and did not even require a visit from the Cubs' Athletic Trainer.
Henry Martinez came in to close out the game for the Captains in the ninth, but the Cubs made it interesting. Wilson led off with a double and then hustled home on a ball that Pieters dribbled in front of the plate. Vicente hopped out of the crouch to field the ball and throw out Pieters, but that left home plate unoccupied and Wilson scored to cut the Captains' lead to 9-6. Joe Martarano followed with a single that brought the tying run into the on deck circle, but Upshaw hit a grounder back to Martinez and the pitcher started a game-ending double play to seal the win.
Hillman (7-9) picked up the win for the Captains. The starter worked 5.1 innings and allowed five runs on nine hits. Hillman walked three and struck out five.
Despite only throwing four pitches, Miller (6-6) took the loss. He officially pitched zero innings and faced one batter. The right-hander was responsible for one run on one hit, as Wakamatsu came around to score following his single off of Miller's foot.
The Captains ended South Bend's season-long nine-game winning streak and will have a chance to split the four-game series on Monday night. First pitch at Four Winds Field is scheduled for 7:05 PM.
Individual game tickets for all Captains games are on sale at the Classic Park box office, online at captainsbaseball.com and by phone at 440-954-WINS (9467). Mini ticket plans for the 2017 season are still available for great prices complete with several exclusive benefits. Information can be found at the Captains website www.captainsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.