COMSTOCK PARK, MICH. - The West Michigan Whitecaps pitching staff was in top form as they defeated the South Bend Cubs by a score of 3-1 Wednesday night in front of 9,210 fans at Fifth Third Ballpark.
On a picturesque night in West Michigan, the 'Caps took an early 1-0 lead on a run-scoring single by Jose Azocar to strike first in the opening inning. Over the span of the first three innings, Whitecaps starter Fernando Perez managed to pitch three scoreless innings despite allowing seven base hits to begin the contest. He then settled in to pitch the next three innings without allowing a run. In the fifth, a successful squeeze bunt by Brett Pirtle scored David Gonzalez from third base, and Whitecaps hit king Will Maddox recorded an RBI-single to give West Michigan a 3-0 lead. P.J. Higgins gave the Cubs their only run with an RBI-single in the ninth, but the Whitecaps pitching staff made sure they came no closer. Mark Ecker pitched a perfect ninth to finish off the Cubs and record his fifth save in his last five appearances to close out the victory.
Fernando Perez (4-7) pushed through some early trouble to toss six innings of scoreless baseball to earn his fourth win of the season. Oscar De La Cruz (1-2) suffered his second loss of the year after allowing all three 'Caps runs in five innings on the mound. The Whitecaps record jumps to 69-61 overall and 30-33 in the second half. The Cubs fall to 80-54 overall, and 39-26 in the second half standings. Maddox led the Whitecaps offense by going 1-for-2 at the plate with a pair of walks in the win. The infielder was honored on the field before the game after breaking the team's single-season hit record of 164, previously held by former outfielder and 2014 Midwest League MVP Wynton Bernard.
The Whitecaps continue this three-game series with the penultimate regular season home game against the South Bend Cubs Thursday at 7:00p.m. Pitcher Kyle Dowdy gets his final 2016 start for the 'Caps against lefty Jose Paulino.