Iowa Loses Tough One, South Bend Advances to First Midwest League Championship

Sunday minor league mania began with Iowa getting out to a 3-0 lead over Round Rock in the final game of their best-of-five series. But that was only the 3rd inning, after which Iowa gave up seven runs and didn’t really come close to catching up in their eventual 10-5 loss. Even though it was a disappointing way to end the year, Iowa did make its first playoff appearance since 2008.

The highlight of the day came later in Midland, Michigan, where South Bend was trying to sweep the Great Lakes Loons and advance to the Midwest League Championship series. The Cubs got going quickly in the 1st inning when Nelson Maldonado hit an opposite-field single to bring in both Brennen Davis and Andy Weber. They added on in the 2nd when Davis singled home Clayton Daniel, who had reached earlier on a fielder’s choice. 

In the top of the 5th, Daniel drove in two more runs with a single to right to make it 6-1 Cubs.

Pitcher Derek Casey started for South Bend and gave up one run over four innings. Casey, who just came off the IL, was on a pitch count and struck out two in his four innings before turning the ball over to Fauris Guerrero to start the 5th. Guerrero pitched two scoreless frames and struck out four, after which lefty Brandon Hughes came on and got two outs before he gave up two runs.

Manager Buddy Bailey went to reliever Brendan King out of the bullpen to preserve a 6-3 lead, and stuck with him to finish the game. The Cubs plated one more run as Maldonado drove in his fourth run of the night with a sac fly to bring the score to its 7-3 final.

The Midwest League Championship Series begins Wednesday in South Bend for two games, then moves to the Western Division champ’s field for up to three more. Clinton and Cedar Rapids are tied at a game apiece in their series and will conclude their three-game set on Monday night.

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