SOUTH BEND, IN - Two errors and a solo shot were the difference as the Dayton Dragons came out on top 4-2 in the first of a three game series at Four Winds Field. With the loss, the Cubs will no longer be able to will themselves over Dayton as they now sit 2.5 games behind the Eastern Division leader with two games left in the series.
Dayton got on the board in the first inning as Tyler Stephenson crossed the plate after a throwing error from South Bend shortstop, Isaac Paredes. The Cubs, who have dealt with defensive miscues all season, were also charged with another error in the fifth inning. They now have 47 errors in just 36 games,
One of few highlights for the Cubs came in the first inning when Zack Short, who is hitting .342 with 13 walks in the month of May, earned his Midwest League leading 31st walk. On the night, Short went 0-3 with one walk.
Hector Vargas came through for Dayton in the fifth inning with a surprising display of power to hit a solo home run, his first of the season, to give the Dragons a 2-0 lead.
The Dragons added two more runs with two outs in the fifth after Cubs' second baseman Yeiler Peguero dropped the ball trying to get the force out at second, which made it a 4-0 ballgame in Dayton's favor.
After Dayton's breakthrough inning, the Cubs came back to score their first run of the game as D.J. Wilson hustled home from second to cross the plate as Dayton's first baseman, James Vasquez, could not hold on to the ball to keep Yeiler Peguero from reaching first base.
South Bend also threatened with two outs in the ninth inning as Isaac Paredes came through with an RBI-double, the Cubs' only extra-base hit of the night, to score Luis Ayala; however, the Cubs could not put things together in the end as Wilson, who represented the tying run, struck out the end the game.
After leaving 16 runners on base, South Bend is now 3-2 against Dayton this season.
Defensive Highlights: Kevonte Mitchell and D.J. Wilson both made key defensive plays in Tuesday night's ballgame. With one out and nobody on in the top of the sixth inning, Mitchell fielded Brantley Bell's line drive single and fired to second base to throw out Bell trying to stretch the single into a double.
Wilson flashed the leather twice while handling the fielding duties in centerfielder. In the top of the seventh inning with two outs and a runner in scoring position, Wilson made a sliding catch to save a run for the Cubs. Then, on the first play in the eighth inning, Wilson raced toward the infield to make a diving catch for the first out of the frame.
What's Next: South Bend will continue the three game series with game two scheduled for 10:35 a.m. tomorrow morning. The Cubs' 6'8" left-hander, Bryan Hudson is scheduled to take the mound. He is 0-1 with a 5.21 ERA in four games started.
Photo credit: Emma Reese
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.