Cubs Minor League News: Perlaza with two homers, Caissie raking, Alcantara homers, more
Photo courtesy: Iowa Cubs

Cubs Minor League News: Perlaza with two homers, Caissie raking, Alcantara homers, more

by - Senior Writer -

The Cubs Minor League season may be winding down, but there is still some action to follow. With one team playing for their playoff lives and two others seeing their regular season winding down, the Cubs closed out Friday with a rather positive showing as they posted a 2-1 mark on the day. Unfortunately, the lone loss was by Myrtle Beach, whose season came to an end in the playoffs.


While the Cubs may be eliminated from playoff contention this season, you would've never guessed based on their play this week as they continue to play spoiler for the Saints. Despite the final score being a one-run game, the Cubs did allow three runs in the ninth as they dominated this game from start to finish.

With Stephen Gonsalves getting the start and going two innings, it was another bullpen game for the Cubs, as they have had to do that far more often than they would like this season. Gonsalves was hit hard in his two innings, allowing three runs, but the rest of the pen pitched well. That includes Ben Brown, Nick Burdi, and Brandon Hughes, who combined for four scoreless innings, but Brown and his three strikeouts stood out.

Matt Mervis has picked the perfect time to get hot, and his scorching hot stretch continued in the first, using an RBI single to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. The lead didn't last long as Saint Paul Responded in a big way to take the lead right back in the second. Kyle Garlick opened a three-run inning with a leadoff double, while a pair of bases-loaded walks made things 3-1 in favor of Saint Paul.

That lead would hold until the Yonathan Perlaza solo shot in the third, but it was the sixth when the Iowa bats came to life and put the game away.

Chase Strumpf opened the five-run inning with a two-RBI single as the Cubs were back in front 4-3. They would never look back as Perlaza connected for his second homer of the game and pushed the Iowa lead to 7-3.

Holding that lead into the ninth, the Saints started to rally off the former Twins reliever Tyler Duffey and began making a game out of it.

With one swing, Trevor Larnach pulled the Saints within 7-6 as he connected for a three-run shot. That was as close as they would get as Duffey did what he had to do to get out of the inning and secured another Cubs win. Perlaza paced the offense with two hits and four RBIs from the leadoff spot as his great season continues. Jared Young and Mervis also had two hits in the win.


Sparked by an early five-run inning to back the pitching, the Smokies offense continued to play well as they topped the Trash Pandas 8-5. It is amazing what happens when a few South Bend players come to town, as the Smokies are playing well with the playoffs happening next week.

Walker Powell was on the mound for the Smokies and was making his final start of the regular season. Despite taking a no-decision and going just four innings, Powell has been solid all season, as he allowed three runs and has an ERA of 3.68. Fortunately for him, the offense and the bullpen picked him up as the Smokies are starting to play the way they have most of the second half.

Most of the damage against Powell came in the second inning when Sonny DiChara took him deep for the 1-0 lead, while the RBI single from Bryce Teodosio gave the Pandas a 2-0 lead. The Smokies ensured that lead wouldn't last long, and once the bottom of the third arrived, their offense erupted in a big way. BJ Murray got things rolling with an RBI double, but the Owen Caissie homer gave the Smokies the lead for good 3-2.

A bases-loaded hit by pitch to Jordan Nwogu, followed by an Andy Weber walk, pushed across two more runs as the Smokies scored five times in that third inning to take a 5-2 lead. Credit the Trash Pandas for not going down easily as they continued to make things tough on the Smokies and pulling within 5-4 on the Arol Vera homer in the fourth. That was as close as they would get, as the Smokies did a great job adding on late.

The suddenly red-hot Casey Opitz played a part in that by adding a solo shot in the fifth to push the lead to 6-4. Leading 6-5 in the seventh, Kevin Alcantara picked the perfect time to hit his first AA homer to extend the lead to 7-5, with Caissie pushing across the final run in the eighth.

Caissie had another great day with three hits and two RBIs to lead the way. Matt Shaw, Murray Jr., Haydn McGeary, and Alcantara all had multiple hits as the Smokies had 12 hits in the win.


Facing a win-or-go-home scenario in their playoff match with Charleston, the Pelicans sent Marino Santy to the mound in hopes of playing one more series this season. Instead, Santy had one of his worst outings of the year, and the Riverdogs ended the Pelicans season for the second straight year in the playoffs 18-4.

Santy allowed seven runs with five earned in two innings, but he wasn't helped much by the offense, who couldn't get much of anything going in this series. Ironically, the Pelicans had an early lead, with Pedro Ramirez picking up an RBI single in the first and a Brian Kalmer double play ball that brought home another run as the Pelicans opened the game with a 2-0 lead through one.

From there, it was all Charleston as they not only responded, but responded in a big way, scoring 18 unanswered runs to blow the game open. After tying things up in the second, the Riverdogs took the lead for good with a five-run third inning, which chased Santy in favor of Sam Armstrong in the process. Cooper Kinney opened the scoring in that inning with a solo shot to give the Riverdogs the lead for good, but the pair of two RBI singles from Jhon Diaz and Xavier Isaac made things 7-2.

Those would be the last of the runs until the sixth inning when a Colton Ledbetter RBI single was part of a three-run frame that saw the lead grow to 10-2. A Ryan Spikes double in the seventh brought home two more runs, with Brayden Taylor making things 14-2 in the eighth with his two-run blast. Already with a massive lead, Charleston had no intentions of letting up and pushed across four more runs in the top half of the ninth to extend their lead to 18-2.

Cristopher Barete had an RBI single in the ninth, but the three-run blast from Raudellis Martinez was the big blow as the Pelicans were down to their final three outs of 2023. The Birds did manage to put up a fight in the ninth with Jefferson Rojas and Ramirez adding RBI singles, but it was nowhere near enough as their 2023 season ended with an 18-4 loss.

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