Comstock Park, Mich. – The West Michigan Whitecaps stepped up in the biggest moments, as a play at the plate in the ninth inning served as the key moment in a 2-1 win over the South Bend Cubs on Wednesday night in front of 6,986 fans at LMCU Ballpark.
Leading 2-1 in the ninth, a ground ball from South Bend’s Luis Verdugo nearly changed the entire complexion of Wednesday’s game, but a slick play from shortstop Trei Cruz perfect throw to catcher Josh Crouch cut down baserunner Brennan Davis attempting to score the tying run as West Michigan preserved the lead on the way to breaking a three-game losing streak.
The scoring was limited Wednesday, as both starting pitchers found a way to post quality starts in the contest. The Whitecaps posted their only runs in the opening inning on an RBI-single by Jace Jung before Cruz lifted a sacrifice fly to score Jake Holton. West Michigan starting pitcher Carlos Guzman tossed a brilliant six innings to tie for the longest start by a ‘Caps pitcher this season, allowing three hits without walking a batter and striking out four. Cubs right Porter Hodge threw six frames of his own, allowing just two runs while striking out six. After two scoreless innings from the West Michigan bullpen, lefty closer Andrew Magno preserved the victory by collecting his tenth save of the season.
Guzman (8-6) is now tied for third in the Midwest League with eight wins, while Hodge (2-2) takes his second loss. The ‘Caps improve to 61-55 and 30-20 in the second half, while the Cubs fall to 65-51 and 31-19 in the second half. The Whitecaps sit two games back of the Lake County Captains for first place in the Midwest League East second-half standings. Holton and infielder Carlos Irigoyen each collected a pair of his in the victory, while Irigoyen’s multi-hit game marked his first for the ‘Caps this season.