Cubs Minor League News: Sanders pitches gem, Smokies win 7th straight, SB on fire, more
Sanders was impressive in his Triple-A debut (Photo courtesy: Iowa Cubs)

Cubs Minor League News: Sanders pitches gem, Smokies win 7th straight, SB on fire, more

by - Senior Writer -

It would be nice if the Cubs minor league system could post a 4-0 record. That is much easier said than done, as a perfect record in the system has only happened one time this season.

What the minor league system has done is win games, and win games quite often as this week could go down as the best week of the season. Now five games into the week, the Cubs system has gone 3-1 or 4-1 each day, and that continued with another 3-1 record on Saturday. Watching these teams play is exciting, and it has been a fun journey thus far.


For the most part, this week's series has gone well for Iowa, even if some of the games are not easy. Saturday saw the Cubs locked into another battle only to come up short for the first time this week.

Cam Sanders made his AAA debut and pitched about as good as you can pitch. Across 5 2/3 innings, Sanders allowed just one run on two hits with nine punchouts. He did walk four hitters, but came out on the short end of the stick. That is because Omaha starter Jackson Kowar gave the Storm Chasers six shutout innings as the Cubs were held to just four hits.

The only run the Storm Chasers would need came in the third inning when Gabriel Cancel ripped an RBI double for the 1-0 lead. Once Sanders was gone, and Eric Stout was in, Cancel added a second RBI double as he was all the offense for either side in the Omaha win. Greg Deichmann had a solid showing, recording three hits of the four hits. Dixon Machado grabbed the other hit.


Consider how rough things have been for Tennessee the last few years. It is refreshing to see them sitting at 20-12 right now, as Michael Ryan deserves a ton of credit. They continued their winning ways Saturday as they used a four-run frame to pick up the 7-3 win.

Another team debut was Max Bain making his AA debut from South Bend. Over his four innings, Bain showed plenty of promise, but dealt with some command issues to finish with two earned runs allowed across four innings. Dalton Stambaugh took over in relief, striking out five in three innings to earn the win, while Eury Ramos closed things out.

The hottest hitter on Tennessee happens to be Bryce Ball, who added a first-inning RBI single for the 1-0 lead. That lead held until the third when Austin Shenton tied the game with a bases-loaded walk, followed by an Erik Osterberg homer in the fourth to give the Biscuits a 2-1 lead. A costly error in the bottom of the fourth saw the Smokies take the lead for good 3-2, but it was the sixth inning when they busted things wide open.

A Levi Jordan started things off that inning to stretch the Smokies lead to 4-2, but it was the Christopher Morel three-run shot to put things away 7-2. Hill Alexander capped off the scoring with an RBI single in the seventh, but the Smokies continued to do their thing. Chase Strumpf and Jordan led the way with two hits, with Morel grabbing three RBIs.


Although this was an exciting game, the bottom line is that South Bend wins yet again and improves to 10-1 on their homestand. They also improve to 19-13 on the season as the wins continue to pile up.

It is only a matter of time until DJ Herz is the next pitcher to get promoted as he continues to deliver in High-A. Although not his best start, Herz still went four innings, allowing three runs as his ERA sits at 1.93. Saturday was also a day of debuts, with Walker Powell making his South Bend debut, allowing four runs in three innings before Jeremiah Estrada closed things out.

After hitting two home runs on Friday, Yohendrick Pinango was at it again, delivering a first-inning homer for the 1-0 lead. The South Bend offense was just getting started as they raced out to an 8-0 lead through four innings. A large amount of the damage came in the third inning when five runs came across.

Pinango continued to pace the offense with his RBI single, doubling the lead at 2-0. Jake Slaughter (1) and Owen Caissie (2) added RBI singles as the lead grew to 5-0. Slaughter later stole home as the lead grew to 6-0. In the fourth, a Matt Mervis double capped off the fantastic start as South Bend was up 8-0.

Although a huge lead, Fort Wayne proved no lead was safe as they took a large chunk out of the lead in the fifth. On the strength of four RBI singles by Ripken Reyes, Angel Solarte, Jarryd Dale, Brandon Valenzuela brought home five runs to make things 8-5. Dale went on to add an RBI double in the seventh as the Tin Caps closed within 8-7.

Fortunately for the Cubs, that would be as close as they would let things get as an error mixed in with a Fabian Pertuz double extended the lead to 10-7 in the seventh before Pablo Aliendo connected for his first homer of the season to finish things off 11-7.

Alien was one of two players with three hits, joining Pinango and having two RBIs. Pertuz and Owen Caissie added two hits as Caissie quietly brings his average close to .200.


This series has not been easy, but the Pelicans can still finish with a 3-3 tie. Not only did they move one step close to that on Saturday, but they moved back into first as they doubled up the Riverdogs 4-2 for the win.

All of the Pelicans offense came after the fifth inning as their pitching did a great job holding Charleston in check. Tyler Schlaffer gave the Pelicans 3 2/3 innings of one-run ball, but his command was an issue after five walks despite not allowing a hit. Jeremiah Gonzalez took over from there, allowing one run in 4 1/3 innings before Jake Reindl struck out the side in the ninth to earn the save. His ERA sits at 0.90.

For the Riverdogs, it was all about Daiveyon Whittle and Sandy Gaston, who kept the Pelicans offense in check for four innings before the Myrtle Beach offense got hot. The Dru Baker RBI groundout in the first gave the Riverdogs the lead early before they built on that in the sixth on the Oneill Manzueta single for the 2-0 lead.

It was in the bottom of the sixth when the Pelicans offense started to go as the runs began to come at a more frantic pace. Ezequiel Pagan ended the shutout bid with his sixth-inning homer before Reggie Preciado delivered a game-tying single in the seventh.

James Triantos picked a great time to deliver his first homer of the season as his solo shot in the eighth gave the Pelicans a 3-2 lead.

The Pelicans went on to add another run in the eighth inning as they were able to come from behind and take a 4-2 win.

Seven different players had one hit, and oddly enough, Pete Crow-Armstrong wasn't one of them as he is going through a mini-slump.

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