MIDLAND, Mich. - With steamy conditions hovering over the ballpark all afternoon, the Great Lakes Loons held off the comeback-minded South Bend Cubs 4-3 on Sunday afternoon. With the temperature at first pitch at 86 degrees, it was the performance of starter Chris Mathewson that allowed the Loons to build a lead big enough and Brendon Davis' solo home run in the 6th that was ultimately the difference.
Making his fourth start of the season in the Great Lakes rotation, Mathewson worked around four Cubs hits and four walks to not allow a run over five innings. Since turning professional after being drafted out of Long Beach State last year, it was his longest outing of his career through 19 appearances.
The Loons pushed runs across in the 1st, 4th and 5th to build a 3-0 lead. But South Bend was ready for a counter-punch in the top of the 6th as they scored three runs of their won off reliever Patrick Duester (BS, 1, W, 2-0). Vimael Machin doubled to the begin the inning followed by a single from Alberto Mineo and a one-out triple from Chris Pieters that was enough to force the deadlock.
After Cody Thomas grounded out to begin the bottom half of the inning for the Loons, in stepped Brendon Davis as he launched his sixth home run of the season off Tyler Peyton (L, 2-1) to move Great Lakes in front for good. Nolan Long (SV, 3) preserved the victory over the final two innings striking out three batters.
Despite reaching base twice for the Loons with two walks, Saige Jenco's 12-game hitting streak came to end. During that stretch, the Virginia Tech product went 14-for-39 (.359) and raised his season batting average 48 points. Gavin Lux added two hits and an RBI for the Loons while Oneil Cruz continued a hot May-June stretch with three more hits.
The Loons improve to 15-8 since May 19 which is the second-best record in the Midwest League during that stretch. Only the West Michigan Whitecaps at 15-7 have been better.
The series wraps up at 7:05 p.m. between the Loons and Cubs at Dow Diamond wraps up on Monday night with Bark in the Park. Leo Crawford (2-4, 4.99 ERA) is set to get the start for Great Lakes.
The 2016 Midwest League Champions and hosts of the 2017 MWL All-Star Game presented by GoGreat.com have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team's inception in 2007. For tickets and more information about the Great Lakes Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit Loons.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.