South Bend, IN: The South Bend Cubs needed a strong performance from their pitching staff on Thursday night with a six-game road trip looming ahead. They received an all-around effort leading to a 5-0 win.
After relying on their bullpen for 16 innings in the past two games, the Cubs sent Opening Day starter Ricky Tyler Thomas to the mound for game four against the Bowling Green Hot Rods. Thomas, who threw a quality start on Opening Day and took the loss, was eyeing his first Midwest League win. The southpaw looked calm, cool, and collected in his Four Winds Field debut.
Thomas was dominant for all five frames that he took the hill. With no hits or runs allowed, Thomas had full control over Bowling Green hitters. With seven strikeouts in the game, Thomas combined his fastball and curveball well to keep the Hot Rods guessing all night. Taking a no-hitter through the 5th inning, Thomas was pulled for recent call-up Enrique De Los Rios.
De Los Rios continued the strong night on the mound for the Cubs with four scoreless innings of his own. In his South Bend debut, he allowed just three hits and struck out two batters. It was a much needed two-pitcher affair for the Cubs, whose bullpen got much needed rest.
On the offensive side of the game, the Cubs scored first for the first time in the series after three straight games of falling behind by at least 3-0. South Bend found a way to win all of those games, but they came out of the gates fast on Thursday. Yeiler Peguero reached in the 1st inning on a walk, then reached second on a wild pitch, and ultimately stole third base. He was brought home on a Tyler Payne RBI single.
Payne had his best night of 2018 to date. As the DH tonight, Payne was 3-5 with an RBI and two runs scored. Third baseman Austin Filiere went 2-4 for the Cubs. Filiere also scored twice as he had a strong four game series against Bowling Green. He hit a home run in game two.
Speed, power, and patience at the plate won the Cubs the entire series against Bowling Green. With their first series win and sweep of 2018, they will ride a four game winning streak into the upcoming road trip.
They will visit Lake County for three games starting tomorrow at 6:30 PM. That will lead into an off day on Monday, then the Cubs will travel to Dayton for a three game series. The Cubs record sits at 5-2 on the season.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.