South Bend, IN: The South Bend Cubs are off to a blazing start in the 2019 Midwest League Playoffs.
After playing Bowling Green in the final three regular season games, the two Eastern Division foes linked up once again on Wednesday night to kick off the postseason. In a 2-1 win, South Bend squeezed out the game one victory and now the club takes the 1-0 series lead in the best of three.
A quick start for South Bend was the difference in game one. With two early runs against starter Caleb Sampen, the Cubs got to the All-Star right-hander before he was able to get comfortable on the mound. Both Nelson Maldonado and Jake Slaughter produced runs in the early rally.
The two runs of support would be all starter Faustino Carrera needed to work a winning outing. In five shutout innings, Carrera allowed four hits and walked two batters. The lefty from Mexico also worked out of every jam he faced.
After Carrera departed, right-hander Ivan Medina was the first man out of manager Buddy Bailey's bullpen. Medina worked 1.1 scoreless innings and also picked up South Bend's first strikeout.
South Bend's two run outburst in the 1st inning proved to be enough to earn the game one win. When Sampen was taken out of the game after five innings, Tampa Bay Rays 2018 1st round pick Matthew Liberatore was called upon by the Hot Rods. Usually a starter, Liberatore worked three shutout frames.
Bowling Green's only run was plated in the top of the 8th after Ford Proctor doubled against Eugenio Palma to start the inning. On a wild pitch thrown by Brian Glowicki, Proctor raced home.
The rally was short-lived for the Hot Rods, however. After getting out of the 8th, Glowicki pitched a brisk top of the 9th to finish the game and earn the save.
With the win, the Cubs now will bus down to Kentucky and prepare to face the Hot Rods in game two. Bowling Green will also host game three, if necessary. First pitch from Bowling Green Ballpark is set for 7:35 PM EST. Right-hander Riley Thompson is the expected game two starter for South Bend.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.