Cubs Minor League News: Mervis mashing, Taillon pitches gem, Rojas still raking, more
Photo courtesy: Iowa Cubs

Cubs Minor League News: Mervis mashing, Taillon pitches gem, Rojas still raking, more

by - Senior Writer -

Friday was an extremely busy night for the Cubs on the diamond as all four affiliations were in action. That included one doubleheader coming from South Bend, as there were five games to keep track of while waiting for the Cubs and Mariners to start.

Four of those games were heavily reliant on the pitching, while the overall showing was just what the organization hoped for: they went just 3-2. You never want to finish a night with a losing record, so finding a way to split a doubleheader was crucial.


Iowa has gotten off to a great start this season, which continued with a 6-0 win against the Saints on Friday. Pitching was the one thing that held this team back at times last season, and so far, it has been the pitching that has been playing very well.

Jameson Taillon was making his second rehab start and first in AAA as he continues to get back to game-ready form. Taillon couldn't have asked for a much better outing as he gave the Cubs 3 2/3 scoreless frames, allowing three hits and striking out four.

He gave way to Hayden Wesneski, who tossed a season-high 4 1/3 scoreless frames with four punchouts before Carl Edwards Jr finished things off.

One thing that will never go away when it comes to Iowa is their ability to strike fast, which was the case in this one. Matt Mervis connected for his second homer of the series to make things 2-0.

Little did anyone know that those would be the only runs Iowa would need, as their pitching took care of the rest.

The long ball played a massive role in the Cubs' offensive success. Luis Vazquez went deep in the second to make things 3-0, while Mervis followed suit with his second homer of the day in the third to push the lead to 4-0.

BJ Murray Jr made it four homers for Iowa with a two-run inside-the-park homer in the eighth, as all six of their runs came on the long ball.


If you are a fan of pitching, the Cubs had plenty of good pitching performances throughout the organization, and that continued in Tennessee. Connor Noland made his first start of the season for the Smokies, and after striking out eight in four strong innings, he left the fan base excited about what was to come.

Noland did allow the lone run in the game but gave way to Brandon Birdsell, who struck out four in four no-hit innings before Frank Scalzo Jr locked things down. Not only did Noland and company have great outings, but so did Thomas Farr who went five innings and only one run allowed.

The only run for the Lookouts came in the bottom half of the first when James Free delivered a sacrifice fly to make things 1-0. Chattanooga was silenced the rest of the way, as the Smokies pitched terrific from start to finish. Like in the Iowa game, the long ball played a role in the early offense, as a Christian Franklin homer in the second tied things up 1-1.

Those would be the only two runs until the sixth inning when Matt Shaw delivered the game-winning RBI triple to put the Smokies on top 2-1. Tennessee continued to add on in the seventh with an Ezequiel Pagan sacrifice fly while a wild pitch in the eighth pushed home the final run in the Smokies 4-1 win.

Shaw had the hot hand in this one, picking up two of the team's four hits with his RBI. Franklin and Pagan added the other two hits while also driving in the other two.


Runs were at a premium in South Bend for both parts of the double header, with the Rattlers taking game one 1-0. Drew Gray suffered a tough-luck loss in game one, getting through three innings and allowing the lone run of the game to Jadher Areinamo, whose second-inning sacrifice fly led to the only run.

Koen Moreno took over for Gray in the fourth and went on to finish things out despite not striking out a single hitter. Moreno allowed one hit and gave his team a chance, but the offense couldn't get it done.


Like in the first game of the night, runs were at a premium in this one, as all three runs came after the fifth inning. This time, the Cubs found a way to get the dub, as a pair of sixth-inning runs led to a 2-1 comeback win. Sam Armstrong continued to impress, as he has yet to allow an earned run in two starts.

Armstrong pitched four innings, striking out four before handing things off to the bullpen. That move nearly proved costly, as Wisconsin took a 1-0 lead in the fifth courtesy of the Jose Acosta RBI double. Wisconsin held that lead until the bottom of the sixth inning, when Jefferson Rojas connected for his second homer of the season.

That homer would be all the offense the Cubs needed in a 2-1 win.


The Pelicans' early-season struggles continued in this one, as their early offensive explosion wasn't enough to earn them the win. Marino Santy was back on the mound for the Birds, and after allowing just two runs in three innings, the bullpen struggled to get the job done.

Santy was backed by some instant offense as Alexis Hernandez first-inning homer gave the Pelicans a 1-0 lead.

That lead didn't last long, as Columbia responded with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. The Austin Charles single and the Christ Brito double made it 2-1 in favor of Columbia.

Alexis Hernandez was just getting started. He added an RBI single in the second to tie things back up at two, while the Reggie Preciado single put the Pelicans back in front 3-2. Myrtle Beach added a third run in the top half of the second on a force-out, and the Birds held a 4-2 lead at this point.

It only took one massive inning for the Fireflies to retake the lead, which came in the fourth inning. What started with a Brennon McNair RBI double was followed by an Erick Torres single, and just like that, things were back to even 4-4. A Charles sacrifice fly put the Fireflies back in front 5-4 with a costly error leading to the fourth run in that inning to make things 6-4.

Columbia continued to keep the pressure on with a two-run McNair single in the fifth to push the lead to 8-4, but it was the Pelicans' offense that continued to battle back. With a wild pitch making things 8-5 in the seventh, Andy Gariola added a sacrifice fly as the Birds were back within two. That would be as close as they would get, as the Fireflies added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh to close out the 10-6 win.

Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Post your comments!