SOUTH BEND, IN - Anthony Castro (W, 10-6) tossed five scoreless innings and the Whitecaps bullpen retired 12 of the 13 batters it faced as West Michigan (43-21, 88-43) defeated the South Bend Cubs (35-30, 74-60) 2-0 in front of a crowd of 5,237 on Wednesday night at Four Winds Field. With Bowling Green still playing at the time of writing, the loss drops the Cubs to 1.5 games out of a playoff spot with 5 games remaining in the season.
West Michigan, the Class A affiliate of the Detroit Tigers, struck early with a two out rally in the top of the first inning. After Cubs starter Jose Paulino (L, 7-5) retired the first two batters of the game, right fielder Cole Bauml lined a single up the middle. Third baseman Danny Pinero followed with a single of his own to put runners at the corners. Shortstop, and former South Bend Cub, Isaac Paredes drove in the first run of the game with a line drive single to left that scored Bauml.
The Whitecaps added a second run in the top of the fourth inning. Left fielder Chad Sedio was hit by a pitch to lead off the inning. First baseman Dylan Burdeaux was up next and he launched a double to the left-center field gap to score Sedio and extend the lead to 2-0.
West Michigan starter Anthony Castro was dominant through his five innings of work. He left after five with a 2-0 lead having allowed four hits and three walks while striking out two and inducing a pair of double plays. Jake Shull came out of the bullpen to replace Castro to start the bottom of the sixth inning. He tossed two scoreless innings before he was replaced by Trent Szkutnik (S, 4) to begin the bottom of the eighth inning. Szutnik closed out the game as the Whitecaps bullpen retired the final twelve batters of the game.
South Bend, the Class A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, struggled to generate any offense to support a solid pitching performance by Paulino. Paulino tossed six innings and allowed just two runs on six hits while striking out five Whitecaps. Manuel Rodriguez and Jhon Romero finished out the game with three scoreless innings.
The Cubs continue the final homestand of the regular season on Thursday night with the second game of a three game series with the West Michigan Whitecaps. Bryan Hudson (8-3, 4.17 ERA) will take the mound for South Bend while Eudis Idrogo (6-7, 3.14 ERA) gets the start for West Michigan. It is Thirsty Thursday where fans can enjoy 16 ounce draft beers & 22 ounce fountain sodas for just $2. It is also Double Dare night, celebrating the iconic kids game show. Finally, it is Fan Calendar Giveaway where the first 1,000 fans through the gates will receive a 2017-18 South Bend Cubs wall calendar.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.