Willy Ortiz (W, 5-1) threw 6 shutout innings and left fielder Garrett Whitley hit a monster two-run homer to left as the Bowling Green Hot Rods (22-15, 53-51) defeated the South Bend Cubs (15-22, 54-52) 8-1 in front of a crowd of 6,184 on Monday night at Four Winds Field.
Bowling Green, the Class-A affiliate of the Tampa Bay Rays, got on the board early in the top of the 2nd inning with back to back doubles. Catcher Jonah Heim doubled to left and first baseman Ryan Tenerowicz followed with another double to left to give the Hot Rods a 1-0 lead. The Hot Rods threatened to add to the lead on a single by third baseman Jim Haley but left fielder Kevonte Mitchell rifled a one-hop throw to the plate to nail Tenerowicz.
Bowling Green broke open the game in the bottom of the 4th inning against Cubs starter Manuel Rondon (L, 10-5). Tenerowicz led off the inning with a single and advanced to second when designated hitter Adrian Rondon singled. Haley added a third straight single to load the bases with no outs. Shortstop Miles Mastrobuoni hit a double play ball to second but it was booted and everyone was safe, making it 2-0. Second baseman Mike Brosseau lined a single up the middle to make it 3-0 and centerfielder Josh Lowe followed with a two-run single down the left field line pushing the lead to 5-0. After Rondon struck out the next two batters, Heim doubled to left, scored Brousseau, and extended the Hot Rods lead to 6-0, and knocked Rondon from the game.
The Hot Rods added to their lead in the top of the 6th inning against Cubs reliever Yapson Gomez. With one on and one out, Whitley launched a two-run homer off of the Tiki Hut 425 feet away in deep left field to make it 8-0. That was well more run support than Ortiz needed on the mound for the Hot Rods. He allowed just 5 hits and walked none while striking out 5 over 6 shutout innings.
South Bend, the Class-A affiliate of the Chicago Cubs, got on the board with a run in the ninth inning. Second baseman Yeiler Peguero singled and right fielder Chris Pieters put runners at first and second with one out. Mitchell reached on an error that loaded the bases and centerfielder D.J. Wilson grounded out to second, scoring Peguero to make it 8-1. Reliever Greg Maisto (S, 1) was able to retire catcher Alberto Mineo on a fly ball to deep left to end the game.
Maisto (S, 1) closed out the game for the Hot Rods and earned his first career save. He tossed 3 innings and allowed three hits and one unearned run while striking out one batter. Maisto and Ortiz combined to retire 25 of the last 30 Cubs to come to the plate as together they stifled the Cubs offense.
The Cubs conclude their series with the Bowling Green Hot Rods at Four Winds Field on Tuesday night with first pitch set for 7:05pm. Jose Paulino (6-3, 4.57 ERA) will take the hill for South Bend. It is Storybook Night at Four Winds Field so come dressed as your favorite prince, princess, or fantasy character. It is also Two Dollar Tuesday with $2 Ice Cream Cups and Car Magnets. Finally, even though it isn't Friday, there will be post-game fireworks so stick around after the game and have a blast.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.