South Bend Cubs
South Bend jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the bottom of the first inning. Clayton Daniel led off the bottom of the first inning and reached on an error. The next batter, Andy Weber, doubled to put runners on second and third. After Brennen Davis struck out, Nelson Maldonado single home both runners to make it 2-0.
Meanwhile, South Bend starter Faustino Carrera held Clinton to one run on four hits over five innings. Carrera struck out two and struck out five.
The LumberKings managed to load the bases in both the fifth and sixth innings but failed to score both times.
The score stayed 2-1 until two outs in the top of the ninth inning. Brendan King, who entered the game in the seventh inning, came out to pitch the ninth inning and lock down the save. But King gave up a leadoff single to Bubba Hollins and pinch-runner Davis Bradshaw stole second with one out. After King struck out back-to-back-hitters, he gave up an infield single to Jose Devers to put runners on the corners with two out. South Bend shortstop Andy Weber made a terrific play on that infield single and made a great throw to first, but Devers just beat it out. (Replays showed a very close play but the umpire probably made the correct call.)
The next hitter, Peyton Burdick, singled to tie the score. But the ninth-inning Clinton rally was snuffed because Burdick rounded first base too far and was thrown out after the single.
South Bend failed to score in the bottom of the ninth inning and then the rains came. The game was delayed for 1 hour, 38 minutes as there was lightning in the area.
Blake Whitney came out to pitch the top of the tenth and retired Clinton in order, striking out two. (In case you were wondering, a runner does not start the inning at second base in extras in the playoffs.)
Peyton Culbertson came on to pitch the bottom of the tenth for Clinton and Maldonado greeted him with a leadoff single. A sacrifice bunt by Jake Slaughter sent Maldonado to second base. Clinton responded to this by intentionally walking Cole Roederer, putting runners on first and second with one out.
It looked like the next batter, Marcus Mastrobuoni had won the game with a single to right, but right fielder Thomas Jones threw out Maldonado at the plate on another very close play. But Roederer made it to third on the throw with two outs.
While Nelson Velazquez was batting, South Bend manager Buddy Bailey came out to complain that Culbertson had balked and replays showed that he clearly had. But all of the umpires just missed it. No matter. Culbertson then spiked a pitch in the dirt and an alert Roederer broke for home. The ball and Roederer reached home plate at about the same time, but the Clinton pitcher couldn’t hang onto the throw and Roederer scored the winning run. (Replays showed he probably would have been safe anyway. Again, it was close.)
Maldonado was 2 for 5 with the two RBI.
Velazquez went 2 for 4.
Levi Jordan went 2 for 3 with a sac bunt.
South Bend now has a commanding two games to none lead in the best-of-five Midwest League Championship Series. The series now heads to Clinton for game three and games four and five if necessary.
Game three will be played on Saturday. So no Wrap on Friday night.