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Cubs Minor League News: Mervis raking, Horton impressive, Caissie with three hits, more
Photo courtesy: Iowa Cubs

Cubs Minor League News: Mervis raking, Horton impressive, Caissie with three hits, more


by - Senior Writer -

With South Bend having their season end last Sunday and Myrtle Beach enjoying a travel day for the postseason, Wednesday was a much lighter load for the Cubs and their system, as only two teams were in action. Despite that, there were plenty of exciting moments as the Cubs posted a 1-1 mark for the day.

IOWA CUBS 4 - SAINT PAUL SAINTS 3

Although the Cubs are guaranteed their first winning record since 2019 this season, they will look back on this as a season of missed opportunities. They were one of the best teams throughout the first half until a late first-half slump saw them lose out on the first-half title before struggling much more in the second.

Looking to play spoiler this week to the Saint Paul Saints, the Cubs battled back to take the lead late and held off the Saints 4-3. Nick Niedert was the starter for the Cubs, but he lasted just 1 1/3 inning before leaving the game with an injury. That put the Cubs in a difficult spot, but credit their bullpen for doing the job.

Whether it was Michael Rucker, Shane Greene, or Brendon Little, the Cubs bullpen gave the offense a chance as a three-run sixth inning lifted the Cubs to a 4-3 win. Niedert didn't help his case early in the game, allowing a leadoff double to Michael Helman to start things off with a wild pitch, making things 1-0 Saints. Niedert would leave shortly after the first inning with an injury, as it was up to the Cubs to figure out how to get a win.

With Jared Young standing on second base in the third, Matt Mervis connected for an RBI double off the right field wall to tie things up before the Hernan Perez homer in the fifth put the Saints back in front 2-1.

With Simeon Woods-Richardson out of the game after five great innings, the Cubs were hoping to make some noise against the Saints pen, and that they did with a massive sixth inning.

Darius Hill delivered the first big hit of the game with a deep double off of the center field fence, and just like that, things were tied 2-2. Two batters later, it was Levi Jordan coming through as he took a two-strike pitch up the middle for a single as the Cubs took their first lead of the week, 4-2.

That single proved to be the winning run as the Yunior Severino homer in the seventh was the final run of the game in the Cubs 4-3 win.

ROCKET CITY TRASH PANDAS 8 - TENNESSEE SMOKIES 5

On the verge of winning the first two games of this week's series, things came undone in a big way as a four-run ninth inning lifted the Trash Pandas to an 8-5 victory. After it was reported that Cade Horton would be shut down for the season, the Smokies had second thoughts as he could be gearing up for the postseason.

Horton may not have lasted long, giving Tennessee three innings, but they were three solid innings, allowing no runs on three hits with three strikeouts. His ERA is now 1.33 since his promotion to AA. Apart from Horton, the Smokies bullpen struggled, even though Brailyn Marquez tossed a rare scoreless outing.

As he did on Tuesday, Matt Shaw opened the scoring for the Smokies in the first as his RBI groundout gave the Smokies a 1-0 lead. One inning later, Kevin Alcantara not only picked up his first AA hit, but his first AA RBIs as his RBI single put the Smokies on top 3-0. Given how Horton was pitching, a three-run was looking to be enough until Riley Martin entered in the fourth.

Martin got off to a strong start, but once the fifth inning rolled around, the bottom started to fall off as the Trash Pandas erupted for three runs to tie things. David Calabrese delivered the first run of the game for Rocket City with a solo shot, while a Gabe Matthews double and the Arol Vera single made things 3-3. Rocket City would grab the lead in the sixth courtesy of a wild pitch, only to see Owen Caissie bring things back to even with an RBI double in the seventh.

With the score tied 4-4 in the ninth, Zac Leigh was the victim of a rough inning as the Trash Pandas offense erupted in the top half of the ninth. Mac McCroskey opened the scoring in that inning with a single, while a costly wild pitch brought home the winning run to make things 6-4. Tucker Flint would add a two-run single for good measure later in the frame as Rocket City closed out a four-run frame with an 8-4 lead.

Looking to make things interesting late, Caissie delivered his third hit of the game and second straight RBI hit as his single made things 8-5. That would be it for the offense as the Smokies drop the second game of the week 8-5. Caissie paced the offense with three hits and two RBIs, with Alcantara and Moises Ballesteros adding two.

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