Cubs Minor League News: PCA raking, Smokies clinch playoff berth, Alcantara with four hits
Photo courtesy: Iowa Cubs

Cubs Minor League News: PCA raking, Smokies clinch playoff berth, Alcantara with four hits

by - Senior Writer -

The Cubs ended another rough week of competition in a big way as they closed out the week with a perfect 4-0 mark. In the process, South Bend ends their season on a high note, while Myrtle Beach can now focus on the postseason. You also had the Tennessee Smokies clinch a playoff berth for the second straight season, as there will be playoff baseball for the Cubs system this year.


As rough as the week started for Iowa, they managed to finish it on a positive note and took home the series finale over Omaha. Caleb Kilian had an excellent bounce-back start after getting lit up earlier in the week, but still managed to go just four innings and was charged with one unearned run. The bullpen took care of the rest for Iowa while their offense started strong and finished stronger.

It didn't take the Cubs long to grab the lead as the two-run single from Yonathan Perlaza in the first put Iowa on top for good, 2-0, while an error later in the inning made things 3-0. That score would hold until a fourth-inning RBI groundout, but the Cubs played long ball to bust things wide open.

First, Jared Young connected on his sixth homer of the week and 21st of the season as he extended the Cubs lead to 5-1 in the fifth. The big blow came from Pete Crow-Armstrong, who put an exclamation point on his minor league season with his second Grand Slam of the week to put Iowa on top 9-1 after six. Omaha did pick up a pair of runs off of Cam Sanders in the ninth as John Rave took him deep to cap off the scoring in the 9-3 Cubs win.

PCA led the way for the Cubs with four hits and a Grand Slam as he picked a great time to snap out of his slump.

Matt Mervis added three hits as those two provided seven of the team's 11 hits. In other news, PCA's minor league season has ended as the Cubs are calling up their top prospect to make his debut in Colorado on Tuesday.


Talk about a much-needed comeback win. After trailing 3-0 most of the night, the Smokies not only rallied with three runs in the eighth, but picked up three more in the ninth to secure a 6-4 and clinched a playoff berth for the second straight season. Manuel Espinoza was tabbed with the start, but his day ended after allowing three runs in two innings.

Angel Guzman replaced him, who fired three scoreless frames with four strikeouts, while Zac Leigh followed with four strikeouts in two innings while surrendering one run. Tennessee quickly found themselves in a hole when Cody Milligan led the game off for Mississippi with a lead-off blast to make things 1-0 Braves. The Braves would add an RBI triple from Bryson Horne in the bottom half of the first as they opened up an early 2-0 lead.

The Braves offense didn't stop there, with Milligan picking up an RBI single in the second to extend the lead to 3-0 before the Smokies bullpen shut them down the rest of the way. Trailing 4-0 in the eighth after Milligan added another RBI single in the seventh, Tennessee was finally able to cash in as an Andy Weber single made things 4-1. Later in the inning, BJ Murray JR came through with a double, and just like that, it was a 4-3 game.

Still trailing by one in the ninth, the Tennessee offense was just getting started as they seemed to have found something in the eighth. Bradlee Beesley did his part by lacing an RBI double that tied the game and pushed across the go-ahead and winning run. A Matt Shaw double followed his double to extend the Smokies lead to 6-4, which was the final score.

Beesley led the offense with two hits and two RBIs, with Haydn McGeary adding two hits. The Smokies haven't clinched the second-half division title, but with Rocket City getting swept over the weekend and Chatanooga struggling, the Smokies are back in the playoffs and can still win the second-half title.


No one is going to argue that the 2023 season was a rough one for the Cubs. However, if there is a silver lining to take away from this season, look at the final series of the year when the Cubs played the best they have in quite some time. Not only did they have another impressive offensive showing on Sunday, but their pitching allowed just three hits while striking out 14 in an 8-1 win.

Michael Arias may not have won a game in South Bend this season, but he picked a great time to have one of his best starts. The right-hander closed out the season with 2 1/3 shutout innings, striking out five and walking five. He gave way to a handful of relievers, including Derek Casey, who struck out five in his two innings of work.

The South Bend offense got going immediately in the first inning, with Kevin Alcantara delivering an RBI single to put them in front 1-0. They would add to their lead in the third when Mosies Ballesteros singled to make things 2-0 while a wild pitch extended the lead to 3-0. The game's lone run for Quad Cities came off of Casey in the fifth as Parker Bates unloaded for a solo blast.

It was all South Bend the rest of the way as they scored five unanswered runs to end the game with three coming in the seventh. James Triantos and Ed Howard had a pair of sacrifice flies in the sixth and eighth innings, while the Jacob Wetzel single in the eighth made things 5-1. You also had an Alcantara long ball in that inning extend the lead to 7-1 as the Cubs closed out their season on a positive note.

Alcantara had a great season with South Bend, and after a four-hit three RBI day, he will finish with a .286 average, 12 homers, and 66 RBIs. Ezequiel Pagan led the team in batting average at .301 after his three-hit day, while Ballesteros and Luis Verdugo added two hits. Speaking of Ballesteros, his season will continue a little longer as he will be on his way to Tennessee to make his AA debut Tuesday.


The Pelicans closed out another playoff season with an exciting end to the regular season as they walked off the Fireflies 7-6. That came after Erian Rodriguez and Scarlyn Lebron spotted the Fireflies six early runs as the Pelicans had to play catchup most of the night.

Columbia struck quickly when Brett Squires took Rodriguez deep in the first to put Columbia in front 2-0. After adding a run on a wild pitch in the second to take a 3-0 lead, the Fireflies saw their lead dwindle as Brian Kalmer cashed in with an RBI single in the bottom of the third to pull the Birds within 3-2. Once the fourth inning rolled around, the Fireflies started to impose their will as a trio of RBI singles from Spencer Nivens, Carson Roccaforte, and Trevor Werner put the Pelicans in a 6-2 hole.

Still trailing by that score in the sixth, the Pelicans began to chip away as the Christian Olivo sacrifice fly made things 6-3 with a Malcolm Quintero single making it 6-4. A Jake Long homer in the seventh brought things to even as this was a brand new ball game. With the game still tied and the Pelicans coming to bat in the ninth, it was time for Pedro Ramirez to play hero again, as his RBI double was the game-winning hit in the Pelicans 7-6 walk-off win.

Jefferson Rojas and Kalmer led the offense with three hits, with Kalmer driving in two. Quintero added two hits and another RBI from the No. 9 spot as his great end to the season continues. The Pelicans will now prepare for the postseason when they take on the Charleston Riverdogs in the first round of the Carolina League Championship.

Upgrade Your Account

Unlock premium boards and exclusive features (e.g. ad-free) by upgrading your account today.

Upgrade Now
Comment on this story
Send Feedback to Dustin Riese: Email | Comment
Jed Hoyer on David Ross' future with Cubs
Jed Hoyer on David Ross' future with Cubs
Report: Cubs want to trade for three-time All-Star first baseman
Report: Cubs want to trade for three-time All-Star first baseman
Tom Ricketts talks David Ross' future with Cubs
Tom Ricketts talks David Ross' future with Cubs
Tom Ricketts addresses Kyle Hendricks' future with Cubs
Tom Ricketts addresses Kyle Hendricks' future with Cubs
Post your comments!