Cubs Minor League News: Mervis still mashing, Franklin injured, Stevens smacks two homers

Cubs Minor League News: Mervis still mashing, Franklin injured, Stevens smacks two homers

by - Senior Writer -

For the second straight night, it was a busy night on the diamond for the Cubs and their system as all four teams were in action once again. With another makeup game on the schedule that saw AA Tennessee play two games, there were once again five games to keep tabs on while waiting for the Cubs to begin play against Seattle. Things didn't go as planned, with the organization going 2-3, but it was the overall performances that stood out.


It's another day and another win for the Iowa Cubs, who have taken their second consecutive series. For the second straight day, the pitching set the tone, while the offense did just enough to pick up the win. Win or not, things were as joyous as you would think, as starter Kohl Franklin was hurt in the third inning.

While the official word on his injury hasn't been released, it doesn't look good for the right-hander, as another serious setback could be in store.

Once he left, Iowa had to use four different arms, including Colten Brewer, who struck out three in two scoreless frames. For the second straight game, it was Matt Mervis getting things started for the Cubs, as his two-run blast gave Iowa a 2-0 lead in the first.

That makes four homers in this series and three in the last two games, as he is getting on one of those hot stretches where he can carry an offense. Early offense was the theme for the Cubs in this one as Patrick Wisdom continued his strong rehab showing as an RBI double pushed the lead to 3-0. Those were the final runs for either side until the fifth inning when Saint Paul began to go to work.

That started with a DaShawn Keirsey Jr. homer in the fifth to make things 3-2, while Alex Isola doubled home the tying run in the sixth. With the game tied 3-3 in the eighth, Chase Strumpf came up clutch, as his RBI single put the Cubs in front 4-3 before winning by that score.

Jake Slaughter led the Cubs' offense with three hits, while Wisdom and Alexander Canario added two.


In what is expected to be a highly competitive doubleheader, the Lookouts took game one 3-2 in walk-off fashion. Matthew Thompson was on the mound for the Smokies as he struck out six in three strong innings before handing things off to Chris Kachmar and Zac Leigh. Kachmar was about as good as can be as he tossed three shutout frames with no walks and seven punchouts.

Sam Benschoter was equally as good, allowing two runs in five innings while striking out five. It didn't take the Smokies long to get their offense going, with Pablo Aliendo opening the scoring with an RBI triple in the second to put Tennessee in front 1-0. Aliendo would come home to score later in the inning on a Luis Verdugo single to make things 2-0.

That would be it for the Smokies offense as the Lookouts pitching silenced their offense the rest of the way. Austin Callahan started the comeback with a solo blast in the third inning before the Mat Nelson double tied things up in the fifth. Down to their final outs, it was the Lookouts getting the last laugh as Tyler Callihan dropped down a perfect squeeze bunt to push across the winning run in what was a 3-2 walk off win.


Just like in their first game, the Smokies' offense was tough to come by. They managed just three hits in a 3-0 doubleheader sweep. Matt Shaw, Jordan Nwogu, and Ezequiel Pagan picked up those hits in what was otherwise a rough offensive day.

Manuel Espinoza was on the mound for the Smokies as he labored through three innings. Espinoza allowed three runs in those three innings, walking two and striking out two. All three runs came in back-to-back innings for the Lookouts, with Mat Nelson delivering the game-winning run with a sacrifice fly in the first and Ivan Johnson delivering a two-run second-inning double.


One night after a low-scoring doubleheader affair, it was the South Bend offense that went to work as they dropped a season-high in runs to pick up the win. This was a weird game as all 14 runs came in four innings, including a seven-run frame for the Cubs to bust the game open.

Luis Devers started for South Bend and finished one out shy of picking up the win. He allowed three runs in his 4 2/3 innings but struggled with command for most of his outing. Jose Romero and Chase Watkins took over for the final 4 1/3 innings, striking out seven and not allowing a hit.

All three of the runs Devers allowed came in the fourth inning as the Rattlers grabbed a 3-0 lead. Jesus Chirinos opened the scoring with a sacrifice fly with Eduarqui Fernandez adding an RBI double. There was also a balk mixed in there as Devers was down by three at this point. Despite a solid first three innings from Alexander Cornielle, things began to unravel in the bottom half of the fifth, with Felix Stevens connecting for a solo shot to put South Bend on the board, with Reivaj Garcia making it 3-2 with an RBI knock.

The Cubs took control in the bottom of the sixth and never looked back. They scored seven times in that inning to make things 9-3.

Brett Bateman and Brennen Davis each had RBI doubles in that inning, but the big blow came from Stevens, who connected for a grand slam.

Stevens drove in five runs on the strength of his two homers as the Cubs desperately missed his bat to start the season.

South Bend closed out the scoring with two more runs in the seventh inning, with Casey Opitz picking up an RBI triple to make it 11-3, and the game ended by that score. Along with Stevens's massive day, Bateman, Jefferson Rojas, Ed Howard, and Yohendrick Pinango all had two hits, with Bateman and Opitz adding two RBIs.


Like the Smokies, offense was nonexistent for the Pelicans as they came away with just two hits with Christopher Paciolla and Frank Hernandez grabbing those hits. Juan Bello was the victim of the lackluster offensive performance, but things weren't so bad early as Bello tossed three shutout frames to begin his outing.

Then came the fourth inning, when Bello began to lose it as the Columbia offense began to take off. A wild pitch led to the game-winning run, but it was the bases-loaded RBI double Jhonny Perdermo that capped off the four-run fourth to put the Fireflies in front 4-0. That would be all Hunter Patterson would need as he struck out seven Pelican hitters in five great innings.

After a sacrifice fly made things 5-0 in the fifth, Columbia capped off the scoring with a pair of two-run shots, with one coming from Blake Mitchell in the sixth and the other from Chris Brito in the seventh.

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