Cubs take rubber match from Loons

Great Lakes Loons baseball

MIDLAND, Mich. – In the three-game series rubber match, the South Bend Cubs scored in the first inning and never looked back, earning an 11-5 victory against the Great Lakes Loons on Thursday at Dow Diamond.

The Cubs (24-28) scored immediately off Loons starter Jose Chacin on an RBI-single off the bat of Austin Filiere for an early 1-0 lead. The Loons (18-34) bounced back with a sacrifice fly from Carlos Rincon but were unable to find the scoreboard again until the seventh inning.

South Bend starter Cory Abbott (W, 4-1) was magnificent through 5.0 innings pitched. He allowed just one run on four hits. Without issuing a walk, he struck out eight hitters. In Abbott’s last three starts, he has only given up two earned runs.

Jhonny Bethencourt’s triple and Jared Young’s single both drove in runs for the Cubs. Then, Miguel Amaya blasted a three-run homer to right center field. The third inning gave South Bend a 5-1 edge as it was Amaya’s seventh long ball of the season.

The Cubs continued their scoring tear in the top of the fourth, as Chacin hit Bethencourt and walked Filiere, who both scored runs. Amaya jumped his RBI total to five on a bases-clearing double to center field for a 10-1 lead against the Loons.

Amaya finished the game 2-for-5 with five RBI. Bethencourt was also extremely productive, going 2-for-3 with two RBI, one walk and three runs scored. Every hitter in the Cubs lineup, besides Chris Singleton, earned a hit against Great Lakes on Thursday.

Chacin (L, 0-2) was pulled after 3.1 innings. He allowed nine runs (six earned) on seven hits and two walks with just two strikeouts. Austin Hamilton threw in relief of Chacin and gave up a run of his own in the top of the sixth. Christian Donahue extended the Cubs lead to 10 runs with a single to left field.

While Chacin and Hamilton allowed runs, Justin Hoyt pitched a clean 2.1 innings of relief. He allowed just one hit and two walks, but the Loons offense was unable to mount a comeback.

The Loons scored in the seventh on Romer Cuadrado’s first home run of the season and again in the eighth with another RBI from Cuadrado.

With Enrique De Los Rios looking to shut down Great Lakes in the bottom of the ninth, Morales ripped a two-run shot to left field. Morales’ second home run of the season was not enough, as De Los Rios eventually finished off the Loons to complete the 11-5 victory and take the series.

Morales, Jared Walker and Marcus Chiu packaged multi-hit games, while Cuadrado finished 1-for-4 with two RBI in the loss. Walker, 22, has now registered back-to-back contests with at least two hits and is 8-for-19 in his last four outings.

Prior to Thursday’s game, Chacin’s most recent start was May 26 against the Lake County Captains. Through 4.0 scoreless innings, he gave up three hits and one walk with three strikeouts.

As the Cubs head back to South Bend, the Loons remain at home for a three-game series against Fort Wayne TinCaps. First pitch on Friday is scheduled for 7:05 p.m.

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