Hill had four hits in the shutout win (Photo via Iowa Cubs)
Hill had four hits in the shutout win (Photo via Iowa Cubs)

Cubs Minor League Daily: Hill with four hits, Crook and Caissie homer, Heard raking, more

by - Senior Writer -

We are getting to the end of another week of minor league baseball, and wins have been tough to come by for the third week in a row. Saturday was not one of those difficult days, as all four full-season teams posted a win on Saturday while the organization went 5-2 overall.

Those results have been lacking the past few weeks, so it was good to see them return. It was even better to see the pitching set the tone across the board, as it made things easier for the offense to settle in.


There was a time when Iowa had one of the best pitching staffs in AAA. That was until a two-week rough patch saw them fall to the middle of the pack. Saturday saw things get back to normal as a five-run first set the tone in what was an 8-0 win for the Cubs.

Adrian Sampson made his first start of the season, and despite going just 3 2/3 innings, he kept the Mud Hens off the board, striking out five. That was followed by 3 1/3 scoreless frames from Brandon Leibrandt, and a pair of scoreless innings from Ben Leeper and Conor Menez as Iowa was tough to handle on the mound.

Iowa needed just one inning to put the game away, connecting for five runs in the first to take a 5-0 lead. Dixon Machado got things started with his first homer of the season, giving the Cubs the 1-0 lead. Singles from Nelson Velazquez and John Hicks followed that up to make things 3-0 before a Narcisco Crook homer gave the Cubs a 5-0 lead.

That was all the offense the Cubs would have until the eighth inning when doubles from Levi Jordan and Nelson Maldonado sandwiched around a Machado grounder put three more runs across to cap off the 8-0 win. Darius Hill paced the 17-hit effort by the Cubs as he went a perfect 4-4 at the plate.

Machado and Crook added three hits, with Maldonado and Hicks adding multi-hit games. Carlos Sepulveda was the lone hitter without a hit.


The Smokies and Shuckers have been involved in some high-scoring affairs lately, but Saturday wasn't one of them. The Smokies continued their winning ways on the strength of a pair of crooked innings mixed with solid pitching.

Javier Assad continues to lead the team in terms of ERA as he gave the Smokies five innings allowing just two runs. His command was iffy, but his 2.77 ERA continues to pace the way for the Smokies staff. Three innings of work from Blake Whitney followed that up before Samuel Reyes closed things out for the save.

Most of the damage came in the first inning when the Smokies grabbed a 3-0 lead. Jake Slaughter continued to dominate AA pitching with an RBI single putting the Smokies on top for good 1-0. Alexander Canario and Cam Balego followed that up with RBI singles as the lead was extended to 3-0.

Across the next two innings, Biloxi did an excellent job battling back, with Brent Diaz picking up an RBI double ahead of the Yeison Coca single in the fourth close the deficit to 3-2. After seeing their lead evaporate, the Smokies got two runs back in the sixth, with Slaughter and Canario ripping solo homers to extend the lead to 5-2. The Shuckers got one more run off a wild pitch, but still fell 5-3.

Canario is starting to heat up, going a perfect 4-4 with his two RBIs. Matt Mervis and Slaughter are also seeing the ball well, grabbing multi-hit games to pace the offense.


Despite how difficult this series has been for the Cubs, they can still come away with a split. That got closer to doing that with a 4-3 win on Saturday, as all four of their runs came late in the game.

Jordan Wicks put together an excellent outing for the Cubs, going five innings and allowing just two runs with eight punchouts. He gave way to a trio of relief pitchers who allowed just one run across the final four innings to help the Cubs win.

Wicks was strong all start long, but he was hit a little hard in the third and fourth inning. That resulted in a Wander Javier go-ahead double in the third and an Aaron Sabato homer in the fourth to make things 2-0 Kernels. It took six innings for the Cubs to break through, but with one swing Owen Caissie gave them the lead using a three-run shot to put them in front 3-2.

The Kernels did themselves little favors one inning later as a costly error allowed for another run to come home and provided the Cubs with the winning run that had South Bend on top 4-2. Seth Gray added an RBI double in the ninth to pull within 4-3, but Hunter Bigge did what he needed to do to close things out. Fabian Pertuz was the lone Cub with multiple hits, with five others grabbing one.


On the strength of a solid pitching performance that saw the Pelicans allow just four hits, Myrtle Beach took another game, shutting out Carolina. Fresh off his pitcher of the month honors, Luis Devers continues to do his thing as he lowered his ERA to 2.19 following a three-hit six, strikeout outing in five innings. His performance set the tone for a staff that walked one and struck out 12 in nine shutout innings.

Offensively, the Pelicans needed just two innings to take the lead and used a Jacob Wetzel double and Felix Stevens sacrifice fly to grab a 2-0 lead. They never looked back from that point and made that score hold up until the eighth inning. Kevin Alcantara added to that lead with an eighth-inning double before the Ethan Hearn two-run shot capped off the scoring in the ninth.


Sparked by a seven-run second inning, the Cubs grabbed a massive early lead and made that last. The Cubs used a ton of pitchers, but watching Yovanny Cruz strike out all six hitters he faced in two innings was a pleasant surprise.

After a pair of wild pitches in the first allowed each team to score a run, the Cubs offense erupted in a big way in the second. While Reivaj Garcia put the Cubs in front with a single, the Alejandro Rivero Grand Slam busted the game open with the Cubs up 6-1. A Raino Coran double and Garcia single capped off the seven-run inning with the Cubs leading 8-1.

The Athletics did a great job battling back, with Carlos Amaya picking up a fourth-inning homer and Carlos Franco adding a late game RBI double in the Cubs 8-5 win. Garcia and Rivero led the way with two hits and combined for six RBIs in the win.


It took nine innings for the Cubs to get on the board, and the Yankees took advantage for an easy win. A Joel Mendez RBI double gave the Yankees a 1-0 lead in the first ahead of an RBI single by Luis Suarez to double the lead 2-0.

Three innings later saw the Yankees extend that lead to 5-0 with a Juan Rosa single making things 3-0 ahead of the Joshua Leito double to make things 5-0. Trailing 6-0 in the ninth, the Cubs at least ended the game positively, with Elizaul Chalas picking up an RBI double with an error making things 6-2.


After a solid start to the week, DSL Blue fell on hard times to close out the week, and things got worse with a lopsided loss on Saturday. Things were not all bad early, with the Cubs coming out strong.

After using a wild pitch in the bottom of the first to draw even, a Fredy Montenegro groundout made things 4-2 in the second before the Dilver Gomez RBI triple in the third made things 4-3. Jerry Torres added an RBI groundout to tie things up 4-4, but the Astros ended the game with nine unanswered runs.


With a chance to head to Omaha on Saturday, the Notre Dame Fighting Irish discovered firsthand why Tennessee is No. 1 in the nation. Notre Dame ace John Michael Bertrand didn't make it out of the fifth as an eight-run fifth inning did the Irish in.

That eight-run inning was anchored by four home runs as the Nations leader in homer runs to put the Irish in a massive 9-0 hole. Spencer Myers ended the shutout with an RBI groundout in the bottom of the fifth before a sixth-inning sacrifice fly made things 9-2.

Tennessee added three more runs in the seventh to go up 12-2 as Jack Zyska capped off the scoring with a ninth-inning two-run shot to make things 12-4. The Irish are now in a win-or-go-home scenario on Sunday with an NCAA tournament spot on the line.

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