COMSTOCK PARK, MI - Chris Proctor and Ulrich Bojarski blasted a pair of solo home runs, and 7,609 fans enjoyed a Family Fare Postgame Fireworks show as the West Michigan Whitecaps lost 5-3 to the South Bend Cubs Friday at Fifth Third Ballpark.
Bojarski becomes the first Whitecaps player to record double-digit home runs in a half since Cam Gibson and Chad Sedio accomplished the feat in 2017.
Two South Bend errors and an Ulrich Bojarski RBI-single off Derek Casey in the first inning gave the Whitecaps an early 1-0 advantage. With two outs in the third, an Andy Weber RBI-double and a single by Tyler Durna off 'Caps starter Hugh Smith gave the Cubs their first lead at 2-1. In the bottom of the third, the 'Caps Chris Proctor delivered a mammoth solo home run to deep center field and tied the game at two. The Proctor blast would be the last hit, or base runner West Michigan would have until the ninth inning, a stretch spanning 18 straight batters being retired by Cubs pitching. Weber and Durna responded again with run-producing singles in the fifth and gave South Bend the 4-2 lead. Sandel De La Cruz entered in relief for West Michigan in the seventh and gave up the last Cubs run to make the score 5-2. Bojarski broke up the Whitecaps no-base runner drought with a solo home run in the ninth inning, but it wasn't enough as West Michigan fell 5-3 in the first game of a three-game series.
South Bend outhit West Michigan 13-4, as the top four batters in the Cubs lineup tallied 11 hits. Bojarski paced a quiet 'Caps offense by going 2-for-4 with a pair of RBI on a night where the Whitecaps were seeking back-to-back wins for the first time since May 10-11. Smith (0-3) took his third loss, allowing seven hits, four earned runs and five strikeouts. Casey (4-3) earned his fourth victory, relinquishing just three hits and one earned run while striking out five. Reliever Eugenio Palma picked up his fifth save in 2019 for South Bend, going three innings and allowing just one hit on the Bojarski home run. The Whitecaps struggles continue as they drop to 2-12 in June and 21-47 overall. The Whitecaps have lost 33 of their last 38 games, while South Bend won their third straight and moved to 36-31 on the season. Two games remain for both teams in the first half before the Midwest League All-Star break next week.
The Whitecaps continue the final series of the first half with the penultimate game of the first portion of the 2019 season against the South Bend Cubs with game two of this three-game series Saturday at 7:05 pm from Fifth Third Ballpark. Whitecaps pitcher Gio Arriera gets the start against Cubs righty Cam Sanders. Broadcast coverage with Dan Hasty and Mike Coleman starts on the Whitecaps Baseball Network at 6:55 pm. Tickets are available for any Whitecaps 2019 home contest by calling the Whitecaps front office at 616-784-4131 or by visiting www.whitecapsbaseball.com.
This story was not subject to the approval of the National Association of Professional Baseball Leagues or its clubs.