Cubs Minor League News: Matt Mervis crushes 36th homer with 119 RBIs, Hill raking, more
Mervis has the MILB lead in RBIs with 119 (Photo via I-Cubs)

Cubs Minor League News: Matt Mervis crushes 36th homer with 119 RBIs, Hill raking, more

by - Senior Writer -

What better way to spend a night in Des Moines than by taking in the final night game of the season for the Iowa Cubs? Fortunately, or unfortunately, depending on how you look at things, the fans at Principal Park were treated to some free baseball as the Cubs, and Toledo Mud Hens needed extras to decide a winner.

Extra inning games have not been too kind to Iowa this season, and when you allow four runs in the top of the 10th inning, those painful feelings get tougher to swallow. In the end, the Mud Hens took the win as they topped the Cubs 8-5 in 10 innings.

Matt Swarmer made his final appearance of the season and has seen an interesting season unfold this season. From a dominating first half to being called up and then released only to resign with Iowa, Swarmer has been put through the wringer this season. However, he has handled it with pride and put together a decent line this year.

Following his 4 2/3 performance and allowing three earned runs, Swarmer will finish the 2022 season with a 3-3 mark and a 3.87 ERA. He gave way to the bullpen with Bryan Hudson, Kelvin Castro, and Ben Leeper delivering solid performances while Danis Correa struggled.

For the Cubs, their offense got going immediately in the first inning, where guess who Matt Mervis launched another homer for No. 36 on the season. The ball traveled 444 feet and tied things up 1-1 as his monster season continued.

That 1-1 score would hold until the fifth inning when a ton of excitement started to unfold.

Unfortunately for the Cubs, much of that excitement came from Toledo as they pushed across three runs to chase Swarmer. Two of those runs came off the Ali Sanchez double, while the John Valente double gave the Mud Hens a 4-1 lead. With this being the final homestand of the season, Iowa made sure to give the fans something to cheer about and had their offense rolling immediately in the bottom of the fifth.

A Scott McKeon double pulled Iowa to within 4-2 as his strong hitting in AAA continues. That set the tone for another feel-good story in 2022 as Darius Hill continues to put the ball in play as his two-run single brought things back to even 4-4. Hill has cooled off a lot in the last two months, but is still hitting a .315 for the season.

Throughout the next three innings, neither team could score a run, but the Cubs were threatening in the eighth. Two out singles from Mervis and John Hicks had the Cubs on the verge of taking the lead only to see Narcisco Crook end the inning. Iowa then put the pressure on again in the ninth as the one-out walk from Levi Jordan and a McKeon single brought the winning run to second base, only to see Jordan left stranded as the game headed to extra innings.

In that extra frame, the Cubs went through an epic meltdown as Correa could not do much of anything on the mound. From a lack of command to a couple of costly miscues, Toledo pushed four runs across in their half of the 10th and took an 8-4 lead. Kody Clemons delivered the game-winning hit with a single, but the Josh Lester double busted the game open at 8-4.

Down to their final three outs, Iowa managed to bring home a run off the Mervis grounder in the bottom of the 10th, but that was it as Iowa fell to Toledo 8-5. For Mervis, he not only led the way with two hits but also added two RBIs to give him 119 on the season. He leads all of Minor League baseball in that category and has recorded the most RBIs in a season since Pete Alonso grabbed 118 in 2018.

Hicks and McKeon added multi-hit efforts to join Mervis, but it wasn't enough in the end. Iowa will be back on the diamond Tuesday and Wednesday for a pair of afternoon games to close out the season, with left-hander Wyatt Short getting the ball in game two.

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