Captains Report: Chu hits go-ahead grand slam

Lake County Captains – 5, South Bend Cubs – 3

The Captains used a late eighth inning rally to defeat the South Bend Cubs on Saturday night. After trailing 3-1 through seven innings, Lake County strung together a key double, walk and error. With the bases loaded, Li-Jen Chu gave the Captains the lead and they held on. Chu drilled a grand slam to left field for a 5-3 advantage.

“I think anyone in the dugout still believed we had a chance to win that game when the inning started. The guys played the game the right way in those situations, like they have all season. Running hard on those plays before the home run. They have continued to play the game the right way and it came back as team karma for us,” said Captains manager Larry Day.

Aiken grinds through

Brady Aiken fought through six innings for the Captains in his tenth start of the season. He worked around two walks in the first inning to escape the frame unscathed. In the second inning, Aiken walked the second batter, a runner who would eventually come around to score on a sacrifice fly. One inning later, Aiken gave up three singles in a 26-pitch inning but only allowed one run. In the fourth, Aiken gave up his third run of the game. The leadoff batter reached on an infield single and advanced to second when the catcher, Chu threw the ball past the first baseman in an attempt to retire the runner. A sacrifice bunt and a groundout plated the run, making it 3-1 South Bend.

Aiken settled down and retired the final seven batters he faced before leaving the game after six innings. The southpaw pitched through six innings for the third time this season. He allowed three runs (two earned) on five hits and three walks. He fanned two batters.

“It was good to see him battle through the game like he did today. He looked good throughout the game. It wasn’t super clean but we finagled out of some innings. He found a way to fight and get us through the game,” added Day about the outing from Aiken.

Aiken’s pitch count by inning: 21 16 26 12 10 10 (95 pitches, 59 strikes)

3rd inning pitch speeds: 88 74 87 82 87 74 87 75 87 75 87 76 88 83 74 75 88

Soto’s double party

Junior Soto joined the Captains on May 25 and has only played in three games before Saturday night. Soto made the most of his start in center field as he went 3-for-3 with three doubles in the contest.

Soto doubled and scored on a groundout in the third inning. Two innings later, he doubled and was stranded on second base. In the eighth, Soto put a double between the first and second basemen that dropped for his third of the evening. He scored on Chu’s grand slam.

Herrera solid in relief

Alsis Herrera has been a key part of the Captains bullpen this season since joining the team at the beginning of May. He followed Aiken to the mound and threw two scoreless innings of relief that kept the Cubs with a 3-1 lead. Herrera gave up one hit and one walk as he kept the Cubs at bay.

In seven appearances spanning 14.2 innings, Herrera has only allowed one run so far. 

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