South Bend, IN:
After a series-clinching 8-2 victory over the first-place Bowling Green Hot Rods (Tampa Bay Rays) at Dow Diamond Friday night, followed by a 4-3 road victory over the South Bend Cubs (Chicago Cubs) in the opener of a 3-game road series in front of 6,697 at Four Winds Field in South Bend, IN tonight, the Great Lakes Loons (27-28) have managed to pull a half-game ahead of the West Michigan Whitecaps (Detroit Tigers) in the Midwest League standings for the second half eastern division wild card playoff spot, and are just 1-game behind the Fort Wayne Tincaps (San Diego Padres) for the other second-half playoff spot.
South Bend took an early lead when third baseman Austin Filiere drove in Cubs catcher Miguel Amaya with an RBI-double, before Filiere was driven in on an RBI-single by shortstop Devin Zinn for a 2-0 Cubs lead in the bottom of the first inning.
The Loons responded in the second when first baseman Brock Carpenter led off the inning with a double, then scored on an RBI-single by CF Josh McLain, cutting the Cubs' lead to 2-1 in the top of the second inning.
The Cubs added another run in the third when DH Rafael Narea singled to drive in Filiere for a 3-1 South Bend lead in the bottom of the third inning.
Great Lakes tied the game with 1-run in the fourth and another in the fifth when McLain drove in second baseman Devin Mann with an RBI-single to make it a 3-2 game in the top of the fourth, before Loons LF Drew Avans (2) belted a solo home run in the next inning, his second of the year to tie the game at 3-runs apiece in the top of the fifth inning.
The Loons would take the lead for good in the seventh when shortstop Jacob Amaya reached on a 1-out single, then scored on a sac fly RBI off the bat of Avans for a 4-3 lead in the top of the seventh.
Loons starter Joel Inoa (1-1, 4.64 ERA) earned his first win of the season for the Loons after giving up 3-runs on 7-hits and 2-walks, while striking out 3-batters through 6-solid innings tonight, while reliever Stephen Kolek (H2, 0.81 ERA) picked up his second hold of the year after allowing just 1-hit, with 4-strikeouts through 1 2/3 innings, before closer Austin Drury (SV, 1) got the save with a clean 1 1/3 innings to close out the game.
The Cubs and Loons will be back at it for game-2 of this 3-game series at Four Winds Field at 2:05 pm tomorrow afternoon.