MIDLAND, Mich. – It didn’t stop raining all afternoon. But, we still played baseball and it didn’t seem to bother the Great Lakes Loons one bit as they cruised to a 10-0 shutout win over the South Bend Cubs on Sunday at Dow Diamond. The duo of Robinson Ortiz and Justin Hagenman combined to one-hit the visitors as the Loons will now go for the rare four-game sweep on Monday night.
It’s beginning to sound like a broken record with this team, but it was two runs in both the 1st and 2nd innings that got a soggy afternoon off on the right foot. Sacrifice flies from two Midwest League All-Stars Dillon Paulson and Niko Hulsizer, followed by productive outs from Leonel Valera and Miguel Vargas gave the Loons a not-so-flashy 4-0 lead.
That was before James Outman forced everyone to peek out from underneath their umbrellas when he uncorked on a baseball out to right field for a three-run bomb. After missing out on the series opener, Outman has proceeded to drive in six runs over the last two games. The Loons offense as a whole? Try 28 runs in the last three games and eight of the nine batters in the lineup on Sunday drove in a run.
The two-headed monster on the bump featured easily the best outing of the season for Ortiz (W, 1-2). The 19-year-old lefty threw five scoreless innings allowing just one hit with five strikeouts. Hagenman was perfect facing the minimum in his two innings of work.
With just seven games left in the 1st half, the magic number to clinch a playoff spot has been reduced to ‘3’. Put plainly, the Loons need three wins this week to book their spot in the postseason. Plus, to finish with the highest first half win percentage in franchise history, they need to go 3-4. The highest win percentage for any half is within reach, but the Loons would need to finish the half with a 6-1 record.