The South Bend Cubs beat the Clinton LumberKings 5-0 in Game 3 of the Midwest League Championship Series to win the franchise’s first MWL title since 2005.
The Cubs went undefeated through all three rounds of the playoffs, and finished with perhaps their strongest game of the postseason thanks to a combination of big hits and dominant pitching.
Four South Bend pitchers — led by starter Riley Thompson — combined to two-hit Clinton without giving up a run or a walk. Thompson struck out 10 in five innings, and allowed only one baserunner — Christopher Torres, who reached base on a throwing error by Thompson; the pitcher later picked off Torres to end the inning.
Both LumberKings hits came off Cubs pitcher Fauris Guerrero, who struck out three in his two innings of work. The first hit was an infield single by Davis Bradshaw, on a tough play for shortstop Andy Weber, with two outs in the bottom of the 6th inning. The other hit was a two-out single by Kameron Misner in the bottom of the 7th.
Eugenio Palma and Brian Glowicki each pitched a hitless inning of relief for the Cubs.
Offensively, South Bend got two-run homers from Levi Jordan (in the 2nd) and Andy Weber (in the 5th). Weber also drove in SB’s 5th run when his ground ball took a bad hop past first baseman Evan Edwards, allowing Jordan to score.
LumberKings starting pitcher Josh Roberson gave up four runs on five hits and two walks while striking out six in five innings. Before Saturday’s game, he hadn’t given up an earned run since August 16.
This MWL title is South Bend’s fourth, after the team previously was crowned league champions in 1989, 1993 and 2005. They were a Chicago White Sox affiliate for their first two titles, and an Arizona Diamondbacks farm team for the third one.
Many of the players on the current South Bend team were members of last year’s Northwest League champion Eugene Emeralds. (Eugene is a step below South Bend in the Cubs farm system.) Like South Bend this year, the Emeralds went undefeated in their postseason run last year.
Before the current team, the last Cubs affiliate to win a Midwest League title was the 2014 Kane County Cougars. This was Clinton’s first season as a Miami Marlins affiliate; interestingly, the last Marlins team that won a MWL championship was also a Cougars team, in 2001.
*All photos by Craig Wieczorkiewicz/The Midwest League Traveler