Daniel Palencia – Picture by Todd Johnson
Things didn’t take long to get going in Cedar Rapids tonight for the South Bend Cubs. The lineup was a little different but it began when Fabian Pertuz worked a walk to leadoff the game. Pete Crow–Armstrong followed up with a single to put men on first and second. Jordan Nwogu was hit by a pitch and all of a sudden the bases were loaded with nobody out. Owen Caissie drove in a run with a sacrifice fly to make it 1 to 0. He was followed by my guy, Luis Verdugo, who doubled (how appropriate) in Crow–Armstrong and Nwogu to make it three to nothing. After a BJ Murray single, it was four to nothing and the pitcher had been run from the first inning.
So , when Daniel Palencia arrived on the mound in the bottom of the first inning he just let it rip with a 4 to 0 lead. He struck out two of the three men in the first inning and three more guys in the second. He looked to be in cruise control because after three innings he had only thrown 34 pitches.
South Bend added another run in the second and one more in the fourth to make it six to nothing.
Palencia mowed down the Kernels in the fifth as he had 8 Ks at that point but had only thrown 62 pitches. I thought there was a good chance he’d be out for the sixth. He was not. Owen Caissie pretty much made it a moot point with his third RBI on the night, a single that drove in PCA. Instead, Riley Martin came out and did just fine in the sixth getting them 1-2-3.
In the 7th things got a little testy when Cedar Rapids loaded the bases with no out. The Kernels wound up plating three runs, but South Bend still held a four run lead.
All I could think of heading into the 8th was that skipper Lance Rymel better be bringing in Michael McAvene and Jake Reindl to close it out.
My wish came true as McAvene entered in the bottom of the eighth. He went 1-2-3 to send it to the ninth.
Owen Caissie drove in Jordan Nwogu to make it 8-3. BJ Murray added a single to drive in Caissie to make it 9-3!
When the bottom of the ninth rolled around, I got the rest of my wish as Jake Reindl came in to end it for South Bend. After a fly out and a line out, it appropriately ended with a strikeout.
South Bend will head back home and start the championship series on Sunday against the Lake County Captains, the Indians High-A affiliate.