The Great Lakes Loons dropped the final game of a four game series with the South Bend Cubs (Chicago Cubs) 5-2 at Dow Diamond tonight, losing the series 3 games to one.
Loons manager Gil Velazquez saw some positive things from his young team as they prepare to make a strong finish to the Midwest Season in August and September.
“We need to keep playing hard, keep swinging the bats and keep playing good baseball,” Velazquez said. “Those guys (South Bend) they swung the bats well. They found some holes, you know. We were playing certain positions and they hit the ball where we weren't. Our guys swung the bats well too. We hit a couple hard balls where we didn't have good luck, but I think we'll be okay.”
The Loons fell behind 3-2 in the fifth inning when South Bend center fielder Connor Myers scored on an rbi single by right fielder Eddy Martinez. The Cubs then broke the game open in the top of the sixth inning when they plated two more runs.
After allowing back to back base hits and with runners on first and third to start the sixth, Loons reliever Alex Hermeling was close to battling his way out of the jam, but Cubs third baseman Adonis Paula and Myers hit a couple rbi singles for a 5-2 South Bend lead.
Hermeling (2-4, 3.67 ERA) was charged with the loss, giving up 3-runs on 6-hits, striking out one South Bend batter through two innings of relief.
The Loons struck first early in the game, capitalizing on some South Bend miscues to take a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first.
Darien Tubbs reached on a lead off grounder bobbled by Cubs shortstop Andruw Monasterio and Saige Jenco followed with a base hit bunt after South Bend pitcher Jose Paulino slipped.
Tubbs then stole third base as Loons shortstop Brendon Davis batted. Davis drove a line drive rbi single to center field, scoring Tubbs and advancing Jenco to second.
Logan Landon ripped a two out rbi single to right field scoring Jenco, but the cut off throw got Davis out at home to end the inning.
The Great Lakes lead was short lived, however. Following a lead off single to Cubs prospect Eloy Jimenez and a 2-run home run by South Bend first baseman Matt Rose -who took Loons starter Imani Abdullah deep over the left field wall at Dow Diamond- the game was instantly tied 2-2 in the top of the second inning.
Despite the home run, Abdullah (2-3, 3.61 ERA) had another quality start allowing 2-runs on 3-hits and 1 walk, while striking out 2 batters through 4-innings.
Velazquez has confidence in his current pitching rotation and likes the stable of strong arms in the Loons bull pen.
“The guys are playing good baseball,” Velazquez said. “We're playing solid defense. Our pitchers, they're struggling a little more than at the beginning of the season, but I think we have some really good arms and these guys are going to come around and do really well for us.”
Brendon Davis was 2 for 4 with an rbi and Logan Landon was 2 for 3 with an rbi and a walk to pace the offense; while Jenco, Zach McKinstry, and newly promoted catcher Steve Berman all contributed with one hit each respectively for the Loons.
The Loons return to Dow Diamond tomorrow where they will begin a three game home series against the Lake County (OH.) Captains (Cleveland Indians) Wed thru Fri.