The West Michigan Whitecaps rallied from a four-run deficit Sunday afternoon, but could not complete the comeback in a 6-5 loss to the South Bend Silver Hawks at Fifth Third Ballpark.
South Bend scored two runs in the top of the ninth to snap a 4-4 tie en route to winning the rubber game of the three-game series. The two teams split a doubleheader on Saturday.
The Whitecaps, who dropped to 6-8, lost its fourth one-run game of the season in the return of Grand Rapids native Kyle Schepel.
Schepel, a former Grand Rapids Christian and Grand Valley State standout, tossed five shutout innings, but did not figure in the decision. He scattered five hits, struck out three and walked three.
West Michigan trailed 4-0 after failing to produce timely hits through the first five innings.
The Whitecaps finally got a pair of clutch hit in the fifth inning and trimmed the deficit to one run.
David Gonzalez ripped a shot through the middle with the bases loaded and two outs to score Jake Stewart and Bennett Pickar. Danry Vasquez followed with a RBI single to make it 4-3.
The Whitecaps tied it in the sixth inning when Pickar’s two-out fly ball down the right field line glanced off the glove of South Bend right fielder Socrates Brito and Lance Durham scored from first base.
South Bend (10-3) regained the lead in the top of the seventh off Whitecaps reliever Josh Turley.
Kevin Medrano led off with a single, stole second and scored the go-ahead run with a long single by Fidel Pena that hit the base of the wall in left field.
The Silver Hawks tacked on another run with a bases-loaded sacrifice fly.
The Whitecaps threatened to send the game to extra innings in the bottom of the inning. Devon Travis scored on a ground out by Mario Martinez and cut it to 6-5, but second baseman Fidel Pena made a diving stop on a shot by Pickar to end the game with the game-tying run on third.
West Michigan stranded 11 base runners and was 2-for-11 with runners in scoring position.
Whitecaps starter Jordan John lasted 4 1/3 innings, giving up three earned runs on six hits.