SOUTH BEND – After being shut out in a pair of games in Michigan to open the year, the South Bend Cubs didn’t find any offense south of the border.
The South Bend Cubs fell to the West Michigan Whitecaps 2-0 in front of a franchise record setting crowd of 6,843 fans at Four Winds Field this evening.
Cubs starting pitcher Dylan Cease wasted no time in showing fans why he is ranked the third-best prospect in the Chicago Cubs organization as his first pitch was tracked at 95 miles per hour.
Though Cease has spent the better part of the last two years carefully recovering from Tommy John surgery in 2014, he threw 77 pitches (59 strikes) in just four innings. Cease also struck out eight Whitecaps hitters while issuing 3 walks.
Shortly before Cease’s exit, West Michigan took an early lead in the third inning after Cam Gibson broke an 0-11 hitless streak with a solo home run. The Whitecaps added another run in the fourth inning after Gibson hit a lead-off triple and later scored on a sacrifice fly by Elvis Rubio.
However, after a trifecta of mound visits and a pitching change by the Whitecaps coaching staff in the bottom of the 6th inning, the Cubs loaded the bases with one out. South Bend first baseman Alberto Mineo had a chance to tie the game but struck out followed by Chris Pieters who popped out weakly to end the inning.
After leaving six players on-base, the South Bend Cubs failed to score their first run of the season as West Michigan shut them out for a third consecutive game.
The South Bend Cubs return to action on Sunday for their second game of a two-game series against the West Michigan Whitecaps at Four Winds Field. First pitch is for scheduled for 2:05 p.m. as the South Bend Cubs send last year’s Northwest League Pitcher of the Year Manuel Rondon to the mound against Whitecaps pitcher Anthony Castro.