MIDLAND, Mich. - After hitting six home runs in the month of April for the Great Lakes Loons, slugger Carlos Rincon had cooled off losing the title of Midwest League leader in that category. But the young Dominican emerged in a big way on Friday as his solo shot in the 1st inning was all the Loons needed for their 4-0 victory over the South Bend Cubs.
Rincon had hit just one home run for the Loons going all the way back to May 7, but he jumped on South Bend starter Duncan Robinson early to put the Loons in front. It was then Mitchell Hansen who rocketed a ball into the night sky, a moonshot in the bottom of the 8th inning off reliever Michael Knighton that was a three-run bomb to give the Loons (31-29) a cushion to work with down the stretch.
The 9th round pick by the Chicago Cubs had the third-lowest earned run average in the Midwest League entering play, and Robinson (L, 5-3) settled down turning in a quality start despite taking the loss. The right-hander went six innings for South Bend (36-24) allowing just the one run on four hits.
While Rincon and Hansen provided the pop in the lineup, it was Oneil Cruz and newly-named MWL All-Star Keibert Ruiz who had multi-hit games for the Loons. Saige Jenco also went 1-for-4 to extend his hit streak to 10 games. He's the second Loon this year to do joining Cody Thomas, while Omar Estevez and Logan Landon each had double-digit hit streaks last season.
On the mound the Great Lakes pitching staff was lights out combining to throw their fourth shutout of the season. Jordan Sheffield (W, 1-3) went 5.1 innings to earn the victory while Andre Scrubb (H, 2) and Angel German (SV, 3) were nearly perfect down the stretch to preserve the victory.
Hailing from Bani, Dominican Republic, German is enjoying his most successful stretch of his career as he has not allowed a run so far in the 2017 season. In 18.2 innings pitched the right-hander has surrendered just nine hits and recorded 27 strikeouts.
The Loons and Cubs continue their weekend series at Dow Diamond on Saturday night. The first 1,000 fans through the gates receive a free Loons hat courtesy of Tri-County Equipment. There will also be a Fireworks Loontacular presented by Chemical Bank following the game.
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.