Cubs Minor League News: Higgins raking, Young with two homers, PCA smacks grand slam, more
Photo courtesy: Iowa Cubs

Cubs Minor League News: Higgins raking, Young with two homers, PCA smacks grand slam, more

by - Senior Writer -

Last week was not a good week for the Cubs Minor League system as the losses piled up at an alarming rate. With Tuesday marking the beginning of a new week, it also marked the final regular season series for Myrtle Beach before the postseason and the last series of the season for South Bend.

As things sit, only Myrtle Beach has secured a spot in the postseason, while Iowa and Tennessee continue to battle for one. Posting a 2-2 record is better than last week, but when both losses came from the two teams chasing a playoff spot, things are starting to look bleak.


In what was a slugfest between the Storm Chasers and Cubs, Omaha stood tall as Iowa dropped another crucial game. Samuel Reyes started in what was a bullpen day and allowed five runs in three innings. He turned things over to Chris Clarke, who allowed one run in two innings, while Tyler Duffey and Cam Sanders were lights out late.

The problem was seeing Edwin Uceta struggling again as he was tagged for four runs in just 1 2/3. Given the number of runs that were scored, you had to think it would be enough as Jonathan Bowlan held the Iowa bats in check for six innings, allowing only two runs before the Cubs furious comeback effort fell short.

Tuesday was all about the long ball for the Cubs, as eight of their nine runs came from four homers. Two of those were off the bat of Jared Young as he not only homered in the first to put the Cubs in front 1-0, but added a second solo shot in the third.

That came after the Omaha offense erupted for five runs in their half of the third as Logan Porter and Angelo Castellano went deep to put the Storm Chasers in front for good, 2-1.

They would add to that lead with a Nick Pratto single, while two more RBI forceouts gave the Storm Chasers a 5-1 lead before the second Young homer. Iowa wasn't the only team swinging for the fences, however, as David Mann connected for a solo shot in the fifth, with Bubba Thompson unloading for a three-run shot in the seventh. Mann also worked a bases-loaded walk in the sixth as Omaha held a 10-2 lead late.

Not only did the Cubs save their best for last, but they nearly completed an improbable comeback in the ninth sparked by the Pete Crow-Armstrong grand slam to make things 10-6.

Later in the inning, it was David Bote's turn to leave the yard as his two-run blast pulled the Cubs within 10-8.

With a runner on third and one out, Brennen Davis pulled the Cubs a bit closer with a sacrifice fly, but that was all for the offense as Iowa fell 10-9.

PJ Higgins had a massive day at the plate, going a perfect 5-5 to raise his average to .314.

Young added two hits, with Bote and Crow-Armstrong grabbing the final two. On a side note, Lefty Reliever Luke Little has been promoted to Chicago and will be available for Wednesday's game. The corresponding move hasn't been announced, but Shane Greene could be on the way back to Iowa.


The Tennessee Smokies picked a bad time to play terrible baseball, as they have now lost a season-high seven straight. The good news is that they still remain in line for a playoff spot and have a six-game lead over the team they need to stay ahead of, so their magic number decreased with the loss.

Manuel Espinoza labored through his 2 2/3 on the mound, allowing three runs. He gave way to Riley Martin, who struck out five in 2 1/2 before Angel Guzman was roughed up late. Not only was pitching a problem, but the offense continued to go into a team funk at the worst time, as Nolan Kingham was the next man to shut them down. Kingham got the win after striking out six in 5 1/3 and allowing just two runs.

A large chunk of the Braves runs came in two innings, with three runs crossing in the second. Brandon Parker opened the scoring with an RBI single to put the Braves in front 1-0, while the Drew Campbell double extended the lead to 3-0. The only hitter in the Tennessee lineup doing anything right now is Matt Shaw, and after delivering a solo shot in the third, he is now hitting .385 with AA after hitting near .400 in High A.

Trailing 4-1 in the sixth, Cole Roederer did his best to keep things close as his RBI single pulled the Smokies within 4-2. Unfortunately, that is as close as things would get as the Braves scored four unanswered runs to end the game. Three came in the bottom of the sixth on a two-run Hudson Potts double and a bases-loaded walk, with the final run coming home on a Campbell single in the seventh.

Shaw led the offense with two hits as the Smokies had just five hits in the game.

Owen Caissie, Bradlee Beesley, and Roederer added the rest of the hits, as the Smokies offense needs to get going soon.


Although eliminated from the playoffs this season, the Cubs get to finish the season at home and would like to end 2023 in style. Tuesday was an excellent start for them to do that as they doubled up the River Bandits 12-6. Tyler Santana has quietly been one of South Bend's better pitchers the past month, and after allowing two runs in four innings, he continued that.

He may not have gotten the win, but he was backed by an offense that scored five runs early before heating up late. After the Cubs struck first on a Moises Ballesteros sacrifice fly in the first, Luis Verdugo extended their lead to 3-0 with a two-run blast in the second.

Quad Cities managed to get one of those runs back in the top half of the third before Christian Franklin unloaded for another long homer in the bottom half to put the Cubs in front 5-1.

Following a Justin Johnson single in the fourth to make things 5-2, Ed Howard answered with one of his own in the fifth to push the lead to 6-2. Things only got worse for Quad Cities from there as Kevin Alcantara picked up an RBI double in the sixth to make things 7-2, with Ballesteros adding a single to make it 8-2. With a considerable lead, the Cubs offense continued to do damage in the eighth as Franklin added an RBI double to extend the lead to 10-2 before a Howard sacrifice fly and wild pitch had the Cubs in front 12-2.

Quad Cities did a great job of battling until the end as they pushed across four runs in the ninth, with three coming on bases-loaded walks, but the Cubs still did enough to win 12-6. In what has been a rough season for the most part, Franklin is doing his best to leave an impression as he paced the offense with three hits and four RBIs. Alcantara and Verdugo also had three hits, as Felix Stevens was the lone starter without a hit.


It's not about how you start a game, but how you finish, and the Pelicans sure finished strong. Trailing 2-1 in the bottom of the seventh, the Pelicans offense erupted for four runs, with the three-run shot from Brian Kalmer proving to be the difference. After Erian Rodriguez tossed three innings to start the game, allowing just one run, Angel Hernadez took over and struck out five in three shutout innings.

He was relieved by 2023 undrafted Free Agent Landon Ginn, who gave up a run, but also picked up the win. The lone run against Erian Rodriguez came in the Fireflies first at-bats of the game, with the Trevor Werner double making things 1-0 early. That score held until the fourth as a bases-loaded walk from Pedro Ramirez brought things back to even 1-1.

With the game still tied in the seventh, the Columbia offense retook the lead as Daniel Vazquez ripped an RBI single to make things 2-1. That lead didn't last long as the Pelicans not only responded in the bottom half of the inning, but in a big way. First, Rafael Morel came through with an RBI double to tie things up 2-2, but the big blow came from Kalmer as he cranked his eighth homer with Myrtle Beach to life the Pelicans to the 5-2 win.

Jefferson Rojas was responsible for two of the teams five hits as he was joined by Kalmer, Morel, and Leonel Espinoza. Coming off his Player of the Month honor, where he belted seven homers and drove in 29, Kalmer is off to another good start as he continues to impress this summer.

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