Globe iconLogin iconRecap iconSearch iconTickets icon

Seven-Run Eighth Inning Pushes Loons Past South Bend

Great Lakes scores 13 runs on 10 hits, takes advantage of walks and errors
May 29, 2022

In the pitch clock era, it is rarer and rarer to see a nine-inning game go past three hours, let alone over three and a half hours. The Great Lakes Loons and South Bend Cubs found a way Saturday night at Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend,

In the pitch clock era, it is rarer and rarer to see a nine-inning game go past three hours, let alone over three and a half hours.

The Great Lakes Loons and South Bend Cubs found a way Saturday night at Four Winds Field at Coveleski Stadium in South Bend, Ind.

In a game that saw 23 runs, 21 hits, five errors, 18 walks, three hit batsmen, 21 strikeouts and a whopping 442 pitches, the Loons came out victorious three hours and 43 minutes later, 13-10, thanks to seven runs in the top of the eighth inning.

The Loons (25-19) opened the scoring in the first inning. Before Kohl Franklin could record an out, the Loons put five men on base and scored three of them. Jose Ramos notched a two-run single (and a third scored on an error) then Ryan January smacked an RBI double. Franklin got out of the inning with a double play.

The Cubs (26-18) answered with one run in the bottom of the frame on a Jordan Nwogu solo blast, his second home run with South Bend this season.

South Bend, High-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, would continue to push runs across, scoring two in the third inning, two in the fourth, and three in the fifth. In three consecutive innings, the home side turned a three-run deficit into a one-run deficit, to a one-run lead, to a four-run advantage. Loons lefty Lael Lockhart was removed after 3 1-3 innings of work, allowing season-highs in hits (6), runs (5) and earned runs (4) while walking two and striking out three.

Braydon Fisher replaced Lockhart and got out of the fourth inning, stranding two inherited runners. In his fifth inning, Fisher allowed three earned runs on two hits and two walks, striking out two. Jonathan Sierra cleared the bases with a two-out, three-run double, his first extra-base hit of the year.

Great Lakes, the Los Angeles Dodgers’ High-A partner, had more offense in the tank. Imanol Vargas led off the sixth inning with a solo shot, his fourth longball of the year, to bring the Loons within three. The Loons loaded the bases before Ramos drove in another run with a walk, but the inning ended with three Loons aboard. Great Lakes trailed by two after the top of the sixth.

Meanwhile, the Loons had terrific relief work from Michael Hobbs (W, 6-1). The right-hander spun two perfect frames of baseball, allowing no baserunners while notching a pair of punchouts. This kept the Loons in the contest, and broke up a string of three straight frames where the Cubs scored.

In the eighth inning, the Great Lakes offense would reward Hobbs for his efforts, exploding for a season-high seven runs in one inning. Hunter Bigge (L, 2-1) walked the first three batters he saw and gave up singles to the next two without recording an out. Eddys Leonard and Ramos had the two RBI hits in the eighth to tie the game at eight runs apiece. Bigge was pulled then, and replaced by Didier Vargas, but the Loons continued to do damage. January, the day after his 24th birthday, belted an opposite-field double off the left-field wall, plating two and giving the Loons a lead they would not surrender. Leonel Valera drove in Ramos with a sacrifice fly, then Vargas reached on a hit by pitch. Juan Zabala doubled, his first extra-base hit of the year, driving in January and moving Vargas to third. Vargas would score the seventh and final run of the inning, trotting home on a wild pitch.

Bigge’s line ended with no outs recorded, five batters faced, three walks, two hits and five earned runs. Great Lakes led 13-8 after the top of the eighth.

South Bend would not go away easily, though. In the bottom of the frame, Yohendrick Pinango drove in two on a bases-loaded two-out single, which gave Cole Duensing the early hook from the game and brought the Cubs within three runs. Ryan Sublette (SV, 2) came in an walked a batter to reload the bases before notching a strikeout to end the frame.

Sublette came back out for the ninth, in search of a four-out save, and walked the first two batters he saw. After getting an out on the bases and a strikeout, Sublette walked another batter to load the bases, but got out of the jam with a game-ending strikeout to secure the 13-10 win.

In every inning the Loons got a hit, they got more than one hit, and scored more than one run: four runs on four hits in the first, two runs on two hits in the sixth, and seven scores on four knocks in the eighth. Those were the only hits the Loons had in the game, and they certainly made the most of them. There were four Loons with multi-hit games; Jorbit Vivas, Leonard, Ramos and January each had two hits. Ramos notched four RBIs, and January had three.

The Loons snap a two-game losing streak with the win, and give themselves a chance to split the series with a win on Sunday. Loons right-hander Emmet Sheehan (0-0, 6.00 ERA) faces off against Cubs righty Daniel Palencia (0-0, 3.68 ERA) in a rematch of Tuesday’s starting pitching matchup. First pitch is scheduled for 7:05 p.m. from South Bend, with pregame coverage beginning at 6:50 p.m. with the Loons On-Deck Circle, driven by Garber Chevrolet Midland, on ESPN 100.9-FM.

The Great Lakes Loons have been a Single-A partner of the Los Angeles Dodgers since the team’s inception in 2007. Dow Diamond serves as the team’s home and also houses the Michigan Baseball Foundation, a 501(c)(3) non-profit public charity, and ESPN 100.9-FM. For tickets or information about the Loons, call 989-837-BALL or visit