SOUTH BEND, Ind. – The South Bend Cubs broke a 3-3 tie with one run in the bottom of the eighth inning to defeat the Dayton Dragons 4-3 on Saturday night. The game was the start of a three-game series in South Bend. The loss dropped the Dragons to 3-6 in the second half and 1-4 on their current seven-game road trip.
With the score tied 3-3 in the bottom of the eighth, South Bend’s Delvin Zinn came to the plate with a runner at third and two outs. Dragons reliever Eddy Demurias started the at-bat by throwing Zinn seven straight breaking balls, including six for strikes. Zinn fouled back pitch-after-pitch to stay alive before Demurias fired a fastball at 95 mph. Zinn fouled that pitch back as well. On the ninth pitch of the at-bat, Demurias went back to another breaking ball and Zinn lined it into left field for a base hit to drive in the runner from third with the eventual winning run.
In the ninth, the Dragons got a two-out infield single from Michael Siani, but Mariel Bautista grounded out to end the game.
The Dragons scored in the top of the first inning to take an early lead. Bautista doubled down the right field line with one out and scored on a single by Jay Schuyler to make it 1-0.
South Bend tied the game with a run in the third and then took the lead in the fourth on a controversial call. With runners at first and second and two outs, Andy Weber hit a deep drive toward right-center field. Dragons right fielder Michael Siani reached for the ball and had it in his glove before running into the fence when the ball came free. Umpires ruled that Siani never had possession and two runs scored on the play to give South Bend a 3-1 lead.
The Dragons scored in the sixth on Brian Rey’s two-out RBI single to bring in Bautista from second to make it 3-2. Dayton tied the game in the eighth when Rey walked with two outs and scored from first on Juan Martinez’s double down the left field line to make it 3-3.
Dragons starting pitcher Connor Curlis lasted three and two-thirds innings, allowing seven hits and three runs with two walks and three strikeouts. Alexis Diaz replaced Curlis to get the final out in the fourth and worked into the sixth without allowing a run. Demurias (2-2) tossed two and two-thirds innings, allowing one run, the tie-breaker in the in the eighth, to take the loss.
The Dragons finished the night with nine hits including two each by Bautista, Schuyler, and Rey.
Up Next: The Dragons (3-6, 31-48) meet the Cubs (5-4, 42-35) again on Sunday afternoon at 2:05 p.m. in the second game of the three-game series. Jhon De Jesus (1-7, 4.83) will start for the Dragons against South Bend’s Cam Sanders (3-4, 3.70). The series and the road trip will conclude on Monday night at 7:05 p.m.
The next home game is Tuesday, July 2 at 7:00 p.m. against the Bowling Green Hot Rods at Fifth Third Field.