SOUTH BEND – Austin Upshaw drove in three runs and Alberto Mineo had three hits and scored three times to lead an offensive explosion as the South Bend Cubs won their third straight over the Dayton Dragons, 12-4, in front of a crowd of 6,947 on Saturday night at Four Winds Field.
Dayton (14-34, 55-63) took their only lead of the game right away in the first inning. Centerfielder Randy Ventura led off the game by beating out an infield single to second. A sacrifice bunt by rightfielder Jose Siri advanced Ventura to second and third baseman Taylor Sparksthen doubled to left to give the Dragons a 1-0 lead. After a foul pop out, first baseman Bruce Yaridoubled to the gap in left-center to score Sparks and give Dayton a 2-0 lead.
South Bend (22-26, 61-56) struck back in the bottom of the first to take the lead. Third baseman Andruw Monasterio led off the inning with a single up the middle. With one out, centerfielder D.J. Wilson walked putting runners at first and second. Left fielder Kevonte Mitchell then doubled to left to cut the lead to 2-1 as Monasterio scored. Upshaw followed with a line drive single to center that plated two runs and gave the Cubs a 3-2 lead. An error on his single allowed Upshaw to go to second and Mineo’s single put runners at the corners. After a strikeout, catcher Tyler Payne doubled to left to score both runners and give the Cubs a 5-2 lead.
The Cubs added to their lead in the bottom of the fourth inning. Monasterio led off with a single to left and moved to second on a groundout. Wilson walked again and Mitchell bounced a single up the middle to score Monasterio and make it 6-2. This knocked Dragons starter Tony Santillan (L, 6-7) from the game and Jesse Stallings entered with one out and runners at the corners. Upshaw bounced into a force out at second base to score the Cubs’ 7th run of the game. Mineo singled for his third straight hit and when Upshaw took third on the single, the Dragons’ right fielder airmailed his throw to third into the stands, scoring Upshaw and putting Mineo at third. Mineo then quickly came home on a wild pitch and the Cubs led 9-2.
Dayton fought back against Cubs starter Manuel Rondon (W, 11-6). Shortstop Carlos Rivero walked with one out. Then, with two outs, Siri tripled to deep center. Rivero scored and when the relay throw was bobbled, Siri scored on the error to cut the lead to 9-4. Rondon ended up going 5 innings and allowing 4 runs (3 earned) for the win. Elvis Diaz came on in the sixth inning and threw two scoreless innings before giving way to Yapson Gomez.
South Bend tacked on insurance runs in the bottom of the 7th and 8th innings against Dayton reliever Joel Kuhnel. In the 7th, Payne singled with one out and advanced to second on a wild pitch. With two outs, Monasterio launched a double into the left-center field gap to give the Cubs a 10-4 lead as Payne crossed the plate. Two more runs crossed the plate for the Cubs in the bottom of the 8th. With two outs, Upshaw singled and advanced to second on a wild pitch. Mineo walked and then right fielder Chris Pieters doubled to center, scoring Upshaw and moving Mineo to third. A wild pitch scored Mineo making the Cubs lead 12-4 before Kuhnel got a strikeout to end the inning.