CEDAR RAPIDS, IA – South Bend Cubs right-hander Adbert Alzolay had an early no-hit bid, took a shutout into the fifth inning and was backed by early offensive outbursts in a 5-1 victory Saturday against the Cedar Rapids Kernels at Perfect Game Field at Veterans Memorial Stadium.
Back-to-back RBI doubles gave the Cubs (13-9) a 3-0 lead in the first inning. With two outs and two runners on base, Eddy Julio Martinez doubled to score P.J. Higgins and Daniel Spingola. Martinez also scored during a double from Andrew Ely.
South Bend also added a run in the top of the second for a 4-0 advantage. An RBI groundout for P.J. Higgins drove in Carlos Sepulveda late in the frame. Cedar Rapids second baseman Luis Arraez kept the Cubs from scoring another run, diving for a ground ball and throwing out Spingola at first base to end the inning.
The Cubs boosted their lead to 5-0 with a tally in the top of the fourth. Tyler Alamo singled to lead off the inning and worked his way to third base after a wild pitch and a groundout. Donnie Dewees drove in Alamo with a two-out double.
Cedar Rapids (13-10) broke up Alzolay’s shutout in the fifth inning. Sean Miller produced a one-out single and later stole second base. He scored on a two-out RBI single from Christian Cavaness, closing the gap to 5-1.
In the sixth, Craig Brooks denied the Kernels’ next best chance in dramatic fashion. Brooks walked the first three batters of the inning before striking out the following three batters to leave the bases loaded. Casey Bloomquist followed with three shutout frames of relief and earned his first professional save.
Alzolay (2-0) took credit for the victory while Dereck Rodriguez (0-4), who allowed five runs in four innings pitched, suffered his fourth straight loss. This three-game series is now tied at one win each.
The rubber game is scheduled for 2:05 p.m. Sunday afternoon. Cedar Rapids right-hander Cody Stashak (2-0, 1.13 ERA) will pitch against South Bend southpaw Carson Sands (1-0, 6.28 ERA).