SOUTH BEND, Ind. (WBKO) --- The Bowling Green Hot Rods won a nail-biter on Saturday, defeating the South Bend Cubs 2-1 at Four Winds Field in South Bend, IN to take a 2-1 series lead. Bowling Green improves to 2-1 in the second half and 41-32 overall heading into the series finale on Sunday afternoon with a 1:05 PM CDT first pitch.
The Hot Rods took a two-run advantage against South Bend starter Faustino Carrera in the second inning. Grant Witherspoon led off with a single to left that dropped between three Cubs players. Witherspoon stole second and went to third when Seaver Whalen grounded out to short. With two outs, Tony Pena singled to center field to plate Witherspoon and give Bowling Green a 1-0 lead. Carrera tried to pick off Pena at first but threw the ball away into the Cubs bullpen in right field. Jonathan Sierra chased the ball into the bullpen but couldn’t find it before Pena scored on the error to give the Hot Rods a 2-0 edge.
South Bend got a run back against Hot Rods reliever Joel Peguero in the eighth. Marcus Mastrobuoni doubled to left on a fly ball with one out and scored two batters later with two outs when Andy Weber singled to center, making it a 2-1 game. Peguero got Brennan Davis to pop-out to second, ending the inning and the threat.
South Bend made it interesting in the ninth with Peguero still on the mound. Chris Morel singled to left with one out and went to third when Sierra reached on an error at short with two outs. Gustavo Polanco grounded out to shortstop, ending the inning and the game as the Hot Rods held on for a 2-1 win.
Shane Baz (3-0) tossed five shutout innings, allowing three hits with two strikeouts. Cristofer Ogando earned a hold and threw two scoreless innings in relief, allowing a hit and one walk with three strikeouts. Peguero earned his sixth save of the season, tossing two innings while allowing one run on three hits with a strikeout.