Cubs Minor League News: Caissie clutch, Canario homers, Norland impressive, Morel homers
Photo courtesy: Iowa Cubs

Cubs Minor League News: Caissie clutch, Canario homers, Norland impressive, Morel homers

by - Senior Writer -

It only took four days, but the Cubs finally put together a strong night of Minor League action, where they managed to go 5-2 on the evening. Had it not been for one team continuing to struggle offensively, there is a great chance they could've gone 6-1 which would've been one of their best overall showings of the season.


At long last, Thomas Pannone put together a strong start and finally looked like the pitcher the Cubs had early in the season. The left-hander gave the Cubs 6 1/3 innings on the mound, where he allowed two runs on five hits. He walked none and struck out six, but had to settle for a no-decision.

He was opposed by another left-hander, Daniel Lynch, who also went six innings and allowed three runs. Pannone was backed by a third-inning Darius Hill RBI single to put the Cubs in front 1-0 as that lead would hold until a Nick Pratto sacrifice fly tied things up in the fifth.

In the sixth inning, both offenses started to get rolling with Alexander Canario connecting for a three-run shot in the sixth to put the Cubs back in front 3-1.

That lead didn't last long, as Omaha responded with a pair of solo shots from Brian O'Keefe and Tyler Gentry, and this was once again a tie game, 3-3. The Storm Chasers continued to do damage late in the game with an eighth inning sacrifice fly giving them the lead, but it was the Cubs who had one last chance to respond.

After Caleb Knight connected for his first AAA homer to tie things up in the bottom of the eighth, Iowa benefitted from some sloppy defense to keep the inning alive.

That proved costly, with Owen Caissie coming through with the go-ahead and game-winning RBI double as Hunter Bigge came in to slam the door shut in the ninth.

Hill and Caissie led the way with two hits in the win.


When you talk about some of the hottest pitchers in the game, Connor Noland comes to mind as the Smokies right-hander has been dialed in for about a month. His run of strong starts continued on Thursday, where Noland not only went seven innings, allowing just one run but struck out a career-high 11 batters as the Smokies continued to dominate the Lookouts.

Anytime you can play with an early lead, it makes things much easier, and Noland was given a massive lead after just one inning. With Sam Benschoter on the mound and struggling to put hitters away, the Smokies instantly kept the pressure on as the Kevin Alcantara double put the Smokies in front for good 2-0.

Alcantara would come around to score on a Yohendrick Pinango single as the Smokies opened up an early 3-0 lead in the first.

Those were the only runs for either side until the fourth, when Felix Stevens unloaded for his second homer in as many days to make things 4-0 before Austin Hendrick put the Lookouts on the board with a solo shot of his own in the fifth. Leading 4-1 in the eighth inning, Casey Opitz delivered the knockout punch as his RBI single brought home two more runs to push the lead to 6-1.

Chattanooga added a run in the bottom of the eighth on a Justice Thompson homer, but that wasn't near enough to take down the Smokies 6-2, who have won the first four in this series. Stevens is starting to come into his own in AA as he led the Smokies with two hits and was joined by Christian Franklin.


It took long enough, but the Cubs finally ended their six-game losing streak with a victory over the Chiefs on Thursday. All it took was a strong pitching performance from Sam Armstrong, while a pair of homers provided all the offense they would need.

Armstrong has been one of the Cubs better starters throughout the season, and with five shutout innings of seven-strikeout ball, he improved to 3-3 on the season with a 2.76 ERA. He wasn't alone in having a strong day. Nick Hull took over in relief and promptly struck out seven in his three scoreless innings, and the Cubs staff struck out 15 in the win.

The Cubs only needed one run of support in this one, which came off the bat of Jordan Nwogu in the second. His solo shot put the Cubs in front for good, 1-0. They would make that lead stand until the fourth, when Rafael Morel provided the final three runs with a three-run shot, as the Cubs took care of business 4-0. Nwogu had his best game of the season with three hits as Morel and Reivaj Garcia added two.


Like the South Bend Cubs, runs have been challenging to come by for the Pelicans, who are now in the midst of their worst stretch of the season. It's starting to become extremely frustrating as Jaxson Wiggins and Angel Hernandez pitched well enough to win, but when your offense has yet to score a run off a starting pitcher, this series wins will be tough to come by.

That streak continued in this one. Chris Villaman struck out seven in five shutout innings, and the Riverdogs staff continued to work. Villaman was backed by a third-inning Jhon Diaz double to bring home the game's first run as the Riverdogs never trailed. Charleston added the winning run in the fourth off an RBI fielder's choice, but with a 2-0 lead entering the ninth, this was far from over.

Even as the losses pile up for this team, Myrtle Beach continues to battle. With Christopher Paciolla picking up an RBI groundout, the Birds were within 2-1 late but would fall by that score. Myrtle Beach had seven hits as Miguel Pabon and Carter Trice led the way with two.


Backed by an early three-run inning, the Cubs' offense set the tone early, and the pitching did enough to win this game. Miguel Cruz got the start and battled through some command issues in his 2 1/3 as the Cubs continue to use a lot of arms each game. One of those arms was Ben Leeper, who struck out two in another scoreless inning as he battled through a third Tommy John.

Trailing 2-0 early after the Royals took the lead on a first-inning fielder's choice and a third-inning RBI single off the bat of Cayden Wallace, it was the Cubs offense that came to life as they pushed across three runs in the third to take the lead. Angel Cepada started the rally with an RBI single, followed by two more RBI singles from Yahil Melendez and Joan Delgado.

The Cubs added to their lead with two more RBI singles as Yidel Diaz made things 4-2 in the fifth, and Jairo Diaz drove home the final run with an RBI single in the seventh. Wallace managed to pull the Royals a little closer with an RBI groundout in the eighth, but that was it, as the Cubs took care of the Royals 5-3.


After not playing in a game since Monday, DSL Red returned to the field Thursday as they took on the Brewers. Despite an offensive barrage that saw them score four times in the first few innings, the Brewers ended the game with seven unanswered runs and delivered a 7-4 win.

You couldn't have asked for a much better start if you were the Cubs, as they pushed across three runs in the second inning to take a 3-0 lead. A bases-loaded walk led to the first of those runs, with Enyel Rosario connecting for a two-run single to make things 3-0. The Cubs added to their lead with a third-inning sacrifice fly to extend the lead to 4-0, but that was it for the Cubs as the Brewers ended the game with seven unanswered runs.

Three of those came in the third as a pair of bases-loaded walks mixed with a hit-by-pitch made things 4-3. Then came the fourth when Juan Ortuno tied things up with an RBI single only to have a second run score on that same play, off an error to put the Brewers on top for good, 5-4. The Brewers added two more runs later in the game to close out the scoring as the Cubs fell 7-4. Rosario delivered two of the four hits with two RBIs.


In the second of the Cubs DSL games, DSL Blue didn't need a ton of offense as their pitching tossed a two-hit shutout for the win. Geovanny Vasquez got the start, and despite walking three in three innings, he didn't allow a hit or run. Vasquez benefitted from some early offensive support as Derik Alcantara put the Cubs in front for good with a first-inning single.

That was the game's only run until the seventh inning, when Alexey Lumpuy stole home to make it 2-0, which is how the game ended. Alcantara led the way with two of the team's four hits, as Diego Gonzalez and Grenyerbert Velasquez had the other two.


What was looking to be a blowout game with the Canaries up 6-1 turned into an exciting finish as the Dogs scored five times in the final few innings to make this a much better game. This was one of those rare times where the Dogs were trailing from start to finish as a Trevor Achenbach Grand Slame gave the Canaries a 4-0 lead in the first.

The Dogs got on the board in the third off the Dusty Stroup homer to pull within 4-1, but with the Canaries tacking on two more in the seventh, they found themselves down 6-1. With Narcisco Crook coming through with an RBI single to make things 6-2, the Dogs had even more work to do as they were down 8-2 in the eighth.

It was in that inning that their offense started to wake up, and they began to mount a massive comeback. That all started with an error, allowing one run to score, with Nick Dalesandro adding an RBI single to make this an 8-4 game. The Dogs continued to benefit from some sloppy play, which was followed by a Brantely Bell single as the Dogs pulled within 8-6 late.

That was as close as they would get as the Canaries added an RBI double off the bat of Josh Rehwaldt in the ninth to close out the 9-6 win. Bell and Jhonni Turbo led the offense with three hits, while Dalesandro and Crook added two.


For the second straight game, the offense was nowhere to be found as the Crushers capped off their sweep in a weather-shortened win. Matt Mulhearn earned the win, allowing just an Emmanuel Sanchez single in his five innings as he improved to 3-3.

The losing pitcher was Michael Mikolaicyk, who surrendered two runs in four innings. Both runs scored in the fourth inning, with a passed ball leading to the winning run and the Burle Dixon RBI grounder bringing home the final run.

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