(South Bend, IN) - The Lake County Captains (25-39, 52-81) dropped the final game of a four-game series at the South Bend Cubs (35-29, 74-59) on Monday night. South Bend jumped out to a 6-0 lead, thanks in large part to a four-run fifth inning. Though Lake County mounted a pair of serious rallies, the Captains could not overcome the sizeable deficit and fell at Four Winds Field, 6-3.
Captains starter Micah Miniard fared well in the first four innings of the game. The right-hander's only two blemishes came on leadoff home runs. Andruw Monasterio went deep to left to begin the first and D.J. Wilson homered to right field at the start of the fourth. Those homers gave South Bend a 2-0 lead, but Miniard was otherwise steady, allowing just four total hits and striking out four over the first four frames.
Unfortunately for Miniard, the Captains' offense was stifled by Cubs lefty starter Manuel Rondon. The Captains scattered four singles over the first five innings scoreless and only advanced one runner to second base. With Rondon keeping the Captains' bats in check, the Cubs exploded in the home half of the fifth.
The bottom of the fifth began with Miniard walking Cubs seven-hitter Jhonny Pereda. Two batters later, Yeiler Peguero reached on an infield single. With two men on and one out, Monasterio struck again. The South Bend leadoff hitter slammed a triple into the right field corner, scoring both Pereda and Peguero. Aramis Ademan followed with an RBI single and Wilson ripped an RBI double. Wilson's double gave South Bend a 6-0 lead and knocked Miniard out of the game. Cameron Mingo came in from the Lake County bullpen and retired the next two men to end the inning without further damage.
The Captains rallied in the sixth, as Rondon ran out of steam. Alexis Pantoja reached on a leadoff infield single and Rondon walked Mitch Longo . Li-Jen Chu then smoked an RBI single up the middle that scored. Pantoja, but Wilson's throw from centerfield sailed over the catcher, allowing Chu to go to second and Longo to third.
Rondon exited after Chu's single, but the Captains struck for two more runs with reliever Mark Malave on the mound. Conner Capel drilled a one-out double that scored Longo and Logan Ice followed with a sacrifice fly that plated Chu, cutting the Cubs' lead to 6-3.
The Captains nearly pulled closer, but a wild play ended the sixth inning. With Capel on second and two outs, Miguel Eladio slammed a line drive and first baseman Austin Upshaw made a diving attempt at the screamer. Upshaw got a piece of the liner and the ball ricocheted to Peguero at second base. Eladio reached first safely, but Capel took too wide of a turn at third. Peguero whipped the ball to third base and Capel stumbled as he tried to head back to the bag. Monasterio chased down Capel in a brief rundown and tagged him out between third and home to end the inning.
The Captains posed one more threat in the seventh, but that proved to be their last gasp. Gabriel Mejia led off and hit a chopper to first base, but the speedster beat Upshaw's flip to Malave, who was running over to cover the bag. Mejia then stole second and went to third when Pereda's throw skipped into centerfield. The Captains had a runner on third with nobody out, but Malave struck out the next two batters swinging. Longo worked a walk to bring the tying run to the plate, but Malave struck out Chu to end the inning.
Left-hander Wyatt Short finished off the last two innings for the Cubs and notched his 15th save. Short held the Captains scoreless and hitless in the eighth and ninth. He struck out two and walked one.
Rondon (14-6) picked up the victory and earned sole possession of the Midwest League wins lead. The southpaw pitched five innings and gave up three runs on six hits. Rondon struck out three and walked two.
Miniard (4-13) suffered the loss and subsequently tied teammate Brady Aiken for the league lead in losses. Miniard allowed six runs over 4.1 innings. He surrendered eight hits, walked one and struck out four.
The Captains lost three out of four to South Bend and will have a day off on Tuesday before beginning their final home stand of the season on Wednesday night against the Lansing Lugnuts. First pitch at Classic Park is scheduled for 7:00 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.