South Bend, IN:
The Great Lakes Loons (20-27) who have spent the majority of the season in the Midwest League cellar, have taken 4 of its last 5 series' and has managed to find itself just 1-1/2 games out of the final second-half eastern division wild card spot for the 2018 MWL playoffs following a series sweep with a 6-3 extra-innings victory over the South Bend Cubs (Chicago Cubs) at Four Winds Field in South Bend, IN tonight.
After completing the first 9-innings tied at 3-runs apiece, the Loons started out the top of the tenth with Loons CF Josh McLain (who had made the final out in the ninth inning) automatically placed on second base (a new rule which has been mandated throughout minor league baseball this year in order to increase pace of play during extra-innings games)
and McLain was instantly moved over to third base on a sac bunt by RF Chris Roller, before Great Lakes DH Deacon Liput and shortstop Jacob Amaya were both walked, loading the bases, which led to McLain and Liput scoring on a wild pitch, while Amaya was driven in on an RBI-single off the bat of second baseman Devin Mann to give the Loons a 6-3 lead heading into the bottom of the tenth, where first baseman-turned-pitcher Brock Carpenter (who is traditionally a position player) came in and forced two fly-out's and a ground-out for the win.
The Loons had jumped out to an early lead when Liput led off the game with a double then scored on an infield ground-out by Carpenter for a 1-0 lead in the top of the first inning, before Liput would then drive in McLain (who had singled) with an RBI-single in the second, eventually scoring when Mann reached on a fielding error for a 3-0 Loons lead in the top of the second inning.
South Bend battled back with 1-run when second baseman Clayton Daniel led off the fourth with a single then scored on a sac fly RBI off the bat of Cubs DH Delvin Zinn to cut the Great Lakes lead to 3-1 in the bottom of the fourth, before the Cubs added two more runs in the seventh when Zinn scored on a sac fly RBI off the bat of LF Christian Donahue, while South Bend first baseman Miguel Amaya drove in CF Jose Gutierrez with an RBI-double for the other run to tie the game at 3-runs apiece in the bottom of the seventh inning.
Loons starter Andre Jackson (3.95 ERA) gave up 1-run on 4-hits and 4-walks, while striking out 2-batters through 3 1/3 innings, while reliever Orlandy Navarro piggy-backed off Jackson, allowing just 1-walk, while striking out 1-batter through 2 1/3 innings.
Great Lakes reliever Darien Nunez (3.66 ERA) gave up 2-earned runs on 3-hits and 1-walk, with 1-strikeout through 1-inning, while Melvin Jimenez (4.85 ERA) allowed just a hit and a walk through 1-inning, before Carpenter (who was brought in to save on arms in the Great Lakes bullpen) earned the win after striking out 1-batter with a clean 2-innings to close out the game for the Loons.
The Loons will now return home to host the Dayton Dragons (Cincinnati Reds) for the opener of a 4-game home series at 7:05 pm at Dow Diamond tomorrow night.