When the Clinton LumberKings scored four runs in the 8th inning to tie their game against the South Bend Cubs on Friday, surely neither team expected to still play for almost three more hours — and then have to resume the game later Saturday.
The teams played 18 innings at Four Winds Field before the game was suspended at 1:08 a.m. ET because of the Midwest League curfew rule. The contest will resume at 5:30 p.m. ET Saturday, tied 6-6 at the start of the 19th inning. The game already scheduled for Saturday will begin at 7:05 p.m. ET or 30 minutes after Friday’s game concludes.
The last play of the game before suspension was a two-out, bases-loaded groundout by Cubs rightfielder Brandon Cummins. The contest began approximately five-and-a-half hours earlier, and was delayed for 12 minutes in the top of the 7th inning after home-plate umpire Matt Cowan was struck in the head by a foul ball and had to leave the game. Base umpire Raul Moreno served as a one-man crew the rest of the way. (There are only two umpires per Midwest League game during the regular season.)
Each team scored once in the 1st inning, South Bend scored four runs in the 2nd inning, and both teams plated one more run before Clinton rallied for four runs in the 8th. Cubs designated hitter D.J. Wilson and LumberKings centerfielder Luis Liberato hit home runs.
Two players are 0-for-8 in the game: LumberKings first baseman Nick Zammarelli, who struck out five times; and Cubs leftfielder Kevonte Mitchell, who struck out four times.
The longest game in Midwest League history lasted 25 innings. That game, between Clinton and Waterloo, began July 6, 1989, and was completed August 17, 1989. Interestingly, Waterloo was involved in the three longest MWL games, and Clinton was involved in three of the five longest MWL contests (all 21 innings or longer).
The longest game in Minor League Baseball history was a 33-inning International League (Triple-A) contest between the Pawtucket Red Sox and the Rochester Red Wings. That game has an interesting connection to the Midwest League, which I wrote about here earlier this year.
UPDATE: The Cubs and the LumberKings only needed to play one more inning to complete Friday’s game. South Bend scored the winning run on a fielder’s choice in the bottom of the 19th inning. You can see the game’s box score here.
South Bend also won the game played afterward, 3-2. Cubs third baseman Vimael Machin had three hits and a run batted in. RHP Dylan Cease got the win, lowering his ERA to 1.88 after giving up only one run on three hits and a walk while striking out six batters in five innings.