Cubs Minor League News: PCA smacks 8th homer, Horton strikes out ten, Rojas debut, more

Cubs Minor League News: PCA smacks 8th homer, Horton strikes out ten, Rojas debut, more

by - Senior Writer -

Wednesday was a much lighter night on the diamond down on the farm, as will every Wednesday as the Rookie League teams have Wednesday off. Despite that, there were still four games going on to follow, with all four of those teams hailing from the full-season leagues.

The past few days have been a struggle wins-wise, but that was not the case on Wednesday, with the Cubs posting a 3-1 record on the night. Had it not been for a late rally by St. Paul, the Cubs could have gone 4-0, but at 3-1, that is nothing to balk at as the wins continue to come in bunches when they happen.


On the strength of three big innings, the Saints continued to pad their lead in the division as they took down the Cubs for the second night in a row. Coming into this series, this was a battle for first place in the division, but with St. Paul surpassing Iowa recently, they continue to pad their lead in the division.

Nick Nidert was on the mound for Iowa and didn't last long, as he allowed five runs in four innings. He wasn't the only one that struggled, with Ryan Jensen and Bailey Horn also allowing six runs, three coming from each. Compare that to a St. Paul bullpen that allowed just two runs in 5 1/3 innings; it made up for a shaky start from Aaron Sanchez and helped give the Saints another win.

Iowa didn't waste any time striking first, with Jared Young putting Iowa on top 1-0 with an RBI single in the first. The Saints not only answered in the bottom of the first but answered in a big way early as Edouard Julien tied things with an RBI double before the Chris Williams single made things 2-1. Two innings later saw the Saints pad their lead even more, with Jair Camargo connecting for the three-run shot to make things 5-1 Saints early.

Despite the early deficit, the Cubs continued to battle back, and it was in the fourth inning when the Cubs used patience to make a comeback. With the bases loaded, the Cubs pulled within 5-4 as Jake Slaughter, Sergio Alcantara, and Bryce Windham all worked bases-loaded walks to pull the Cubs within one. Windham wasn't finished, as his RBI single in the sixth tied things up 5-5, with Yonathan Perlaza giving Iowa the lead again with an RBI forceout.

Like the last time the Cubs had the lead, it didn't take long for the Saints to retake the lead as they used a second three-run frame to jump in front 8-6. The next inning was the same story as the Jose Miranda homer started another three-run inning to bust the game open and give the Saints an 11-6 win.

Nick Madrigal and Young had great nights at the plate, leading the way with three hits. Windham added two RBIs in the loss.


Despite what the final score shows, this was a much closer game than that and was a 3-2 game entering the ninth. Then came the massive eight-run frame from the Smokies to open things up as they dominated for another run. Although DJ Herz earned a no-decision, he pitched his best game of the season, going 4 1/3 and allowing two unearned runs with five strikeouts.

His performance paved the way for a trio of bullpen arms who limited the Trash Pandas next to nothing offensively. For the Trash Pandas, it was all about Jack Kochanowicz getting the job done for the Trash Pandas as he gave them seven strong innings of three-run ball to keep things close. He struck out seven, but it was the late-game meltdown that was an issue.

Knotted 0-0 entering the fifth, Cole Roederer opened the scoring for both sides as his RBI double made things 1-0. Roederer is starting to wake up as a hitter and is beginning to look like the top-30 prospect he once was. Both Rocket City runs came in that fifth inning as a pair of sacrifice bunts brought home two runs and gave the Trash Pandas a 2-1 lead.

Their lead didn't last 15 minutes, with the Smokies responding in the top half of the sixth as Haydn McGeary put the Smokies in front for good with his two-run shot to make things 3-2.

That score would hold until the ninth inning when the Smokies offense started to awaken in a big way. Pablo Aliendo opened that frame with an RBI single, while the Nelson Maldonado double made things 5-2.

Roederer added to an already nice game with his second RBI hit of the night as his single pushed the lead to 7-2. The big blow in the inning came from Pete Crow-Armstrong, whose three-run shot made things 10-2.

For PCA, his power is starting to show, as he has four homers in his last seven games. BJ Murray Jr capped off the scoring for Tennessee as his double put the final touch on the 11-2 win.

Murray Jr was one of four players joining Roederer, Aliendo, and Jordan Nwogu with multiple hits. Roederer also led the team with three RBIs, as did PCA.


Sometimes, all it takes is one run, and whenever Cade Horton is on the mound, one run can be enough. Horton has been lighting it up all season and is averaging better than two strikeouts per nine innings this season. Wednesday saw the hard-throwing right-hander not only his best start with High-A, but possibly his best start of his young career to earn his first career South Bend win.

Horton allowed two hits in his five innings and didn't walk a hitter, which has been a little concerning since his promotion. However, the strikeouts continued to impress as he punched out 10 across those five innings.

While Horton may have dominated on the mound, the Cubs were equally as quiet at the plate, with Brady Basso and Joelvis De Rosario giving the Lugnts eight combined innings of one-run ball.

The lone run of the game in the second inning when Luis Verdugo lofted a sacrifice fly to right to bring home Kevin Made. Verdugo also had one of the team's three hits, with Made and Yohendrick Pinango grabbing the other two.


At long last, the Pelicans are back where they belong as they have overtaken sole possession of first place in their division. It hasn't come easy, but their recent stretch of fantastic play is why this team is surging, with the Pelicans picking up their sixth consecutive win on Wednesday and 13th in their last 16 games.

For the second night in a row, the Pelicans were backed by a relentless offensive attack and strong pitching on the mound. This time it was Michael Arias getting the start as he had started to put a nice run of starts together. Arias gave the Pelicans five shutout frames of five strikeout balls and allowed just one hit before handing it over to the pen.

Luis Rujiano was the first man out, tossing three scoreless frames before Augusta added three runs late.

With Arias doing his thing on the mound, the Pelicans offense wanted to lighten the load as they jumped on Spencer Schwellenbach early and often. Solo shots from Juan Mora and Moises Ballesteros gave the Birds a 2-0 lead in the first, with Pedro Ramirez picking up a sacrifice fly in the third.

The long ball continued to play a significant role for the Pelicans in the fourth, with Felix Stevens adding the Pelicans third homer to extend the lead to 4-0. That homer proved to be the winning run, but the offense wouldn't stop there. The rest of the Pelican's runs came in the fifth inning, with Cristian Hernandez using a single to make things 5-0 and Jefferson Rojas bringing home the final two on a double.

Myrtle Beach maintained that 7-0 lead until the final inning when EJ Exposito ended the shutout bid with an RBI double. Augusta added two additional runs that inning off an error, but the Pelicans still picked up the 7-3 win. Mora has had a quietly good season this year and led the Pelicans with three hits to push his average to .324. Rojas and Ballesteros added two hits as the Pelicans had six players drive in a run.


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