Cubs Minor League News: Suzuki and Morel homer, Caissie hits two dingers, Horton with gem

Cubs Minor League News: Suzuki and Morel homer, Caissie hits two dingers, Horton with gem

by - Senior Writer -

Wins can be contagious for an organization, and plenty of winning has been in the Cubs Minor League system. That shouldn't surprise you when you look at the amount of talent it has and the overall results they had in 2022, as this season could be one for the memory books.

Coming off their worst showing of the young season on Tuesday, where the organization posted a 1-3 record, things were flipped on Wednesday with the Cubs system going 3-1. In the process, you saw several players remain hot, one player have a career day, and one highly touted pitcher make his professional debut and was impressive in that.


For whatever reason, the Omaha Storm Chasers have given the Cubs problems the past few seasons, and they continue to do that now. Despite the Iowa offense putting up six runs, the Cubs pitching let them down, particularly Rowan Wick, who surrendered four runs in two innings.

That came after Riley Thompson gave Iowa four innings of three-run ball while the Iowa offense went to work against reliever Jackson Kowar. This was a back-and-forth game that saw Nick Pratto put Omaha up 1-0 in the first, only to have Seiya Suzuki hit his first homer of the season to tie things up.

Homers from CJ Alexander in the second and Tyler Gentry in the third off of Thompson had Omaha in front 3-1 as the right-hander didn't have his best stuff, but battled. Of all the players on the Iowa roster right now, Christopher Morel is enjoying himself the most, as his second homer of 2023 came in the third to make things 3-2. Morel added an RBI double in the fifth to pull the Cubs within 4-3, but they couldn't slow down the Omaha attack.

With Wick struggling and Omaha grabbing a 7-3 lead in the sixth, the Iowa offense knew they had an uphill battle. Leave it to Levi Jordan and Jake Washer to take that head-on as the Jordan triple made things 7-5 while the Washer single pulled the Cubs within one.

Unfortunately, the Cubs offense went quiet in the final three frames, with Omaha tacking on against Anthony Kay and Ryan Borucki to lift the Storm Chasers to the 10-6 win. Morel and Suzuki led the way with two hits as Morel is now hitting .371 with a 1.254 OPS.


As they did in their season-opening series, the Smokies responded from their loss and picked up a couple of nice wins. This one was highlighted by Owen Caissie, whose career night carried the Smokies. Caissie finished the game with three hits, all homers, and drove in six.

That alone helped make up for Walker Powell's struggles as he allowed three runs in 2 2/3 despite one run being earned. Tennessee also saw Daniel Palencia make his AA debut as the flame thrower lasted 3 1/3 innings and allowed two runs on four hits with five strikeouts. As a staff, the Smokies struck out 15, including five in two innings from Cayne Ueckert.

Most of the damage from the Smokies offense came in the first inning when they pushed across five runs. BJ Murray Jr drove in the first run with a bases-loaded walk, while Caissie connected for a Grand Slam to make things 5-0.

Homers were the theme of the night for Tennessee, with Caissie going deep in the sixth and ninth, with Chase Strumpf adding one in the eighth to account for all the runs.

The big inning for Montgomery came in the sixth when they pushed across four runs to pull within 6-5. Heriberto Hernandez drove in two with his homer, while an error allowed two more runners to score later in the inning. Pete Crow-Armstrong added a pair of hits to raise his average to .350 as he continues to crush the ball against minor-league pitching.


That is more like it if you are a South Bend fan. Twenty-four hours after dropping their home opener in extras, the Cubs turned the table for a dominating shutout win and did it without Kevin Alcantara, who had the night off. Leading the way was Kohl Franklin, who is looking to bounce back after a nightmare 2022.

If his first start indicates the season ahead, expect big things from him as the right-hander went four innings, allowing just one hit with seven strikeouts.

He turned things over to Joe Nahas, who struck out one in three innings to earn the win, with Carlos Guzman pitching the final two innings.

South Bend got off to a hot start, with Yohendrick Pinango delivering the game-winning double in the first to open the scoring, with Casey Opitz adding a two-run shot in the second to make things 3-0. Pinango picked up another RBI off a groundout in the fifth, and the Cubs were up 4-0 at that point.

While their offense did plenty of early damage, the big inning came in the eighth when the final four runs came across. Haydn McGeary picked up an RBI fielder's choice, while Fabian Pertuz and Jacob Wetzel added RBI singles to close out the scoring. Pertuz, Wetzel, and Opitz all had two hits and combined for five RBIs, with Pinango adding two more RBIs in the win.


Coming off a brutal series-opening loss on Tuesday, all eyes were on the Pelicans Wednesday as the highly touted Cade Horton made his professional debut.

To say he looked the part of a future ace would be an understatement, as Horton went 2 1/3 and struck out five of the possible seven outs he recorded.

He set the tone for a staff that, although they walked 10, struck out 16 with the offense putting up enough runs. 2022 11th-rounder Branden Noriega made his professional debut out of the pen and struck out five in two-plus innings, but did allow three runs.

Knowing they needed to strike fast off of Austin Peterson, who struck out four in four innings, the Pelicans offense grabbed the early lead with Reggie Preciado opening the scoring with an RBI single in the second with Felix Stevens picking up a bases-loaded walk in the third.

That 2-0 game held until the fifth inning when the Pelicans bats came to life. Following a Jefferson Encarnacion hit by pitch, Stevens got into one and cracked his first homer of the season to extend the lead to 4-0.

You also had Parker Chavers come through with an RBI double, as that hit proved to be the game-winner with the Pelicans leading 5-0.

With the Hillcats unable to do anything through four innings, the bases-clearing RBI triple Angel Zarate put them on the board and made things 5-2. Add in the Maick Collado single in the seventh, and the Hillcats pulled within 5-3, only to have a wild pitch make things 6-3 in the eighth. Lynchburg had a chance for some late-game drama as they loaded the bases in the ninth, but only managed to score one run on the Jose Devers walk.

Encarnacion paced the Pelicans offense with three hits, but Stevens, Chavers, and Rafael Morel added two. Stevens led the way with three RBIs in the win.

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