Cubs Minor League News: I-Cubs shutout, Velazquez hits 12th homer, Made with 3 RBIs, more
Jake Roth - USA Today Sports

Cubs Minor League News: I-Cubs shutout, Velazquez hits 12th homer, Made with 3 RBIs, more

by - Senior Writer -

The Cubs closed out another Minor League week of competition with four games on Sunday. With this being one of the two off days for the Rookie Leagues, focus shifted to the full season leagues as they were on center stage.

Despite two of the games reliant on strong pitching, and two games about the offense, the Cubs saw their system limp to a 1-3 record to cap off the week. Record aside, it was an important day in more ways than one as several of the prospects acquired in their recent trades are now starting to take the field.


The Cubs wound up on the wrong side of a pitcher's duel on Sunday, falling to the Bats 2-0. With just four hits, the Cubs needed to rely on their pitching, and Adrian Sampson and company delivered. He gave the Cubs six strong innings on the hill allowing just one run on six hits before turning it over to Juan Gamez making his AAA debut, Ryan Lawlor, and Ryan Meisinger. Unfortunately, the Cubs were kept off the board.

Not only was Sampson sharp, but he held Louisville scoreless through five innings before the Jose Barrero double in the sixth put the Bats in front for

good 1-0. One inning later saw them get to Gamez using a Narcisco Crook single to double the lead 2-0, which ended up being the final score. Ian Miller, Nick Martini, Alfonso Rivas, and Trayce Thompson recorded the four hits for Iowa.


While Iowa was done in by strong starting pitching, the Smokies had strong pitching of their own as they were able to hold off the Lookouts 3-2. It was a bullpen day for the Smokies, who used five pitchers in the game, and they combined to allow just two runs on five hits.

That proved to be pivotal, especially after Darius Hill lead off the game with his fifth homer in the bottom of the first to give the Smokies a 1-0 lead. Chattanooga was able to ties things up in the top of the fourth when Wilson Garcia picked up a sacrifice fly, only to see Tennessee take the lead for good in the bottom of the fourth with the Tim Susnara sacrifice fly.

One inning later saw Carlos Sepulveda deliver the game-winning knock as his single gave the Smokies a 3-1 lead. That score would hold up as a Drew Mount homer in the seventh was the remainder of the offense in a 3-2 Tennessee win. Delvin Zinn made his AA debut and impressed with three hits, including a pair of doubles, while Susnara added two hits to go with his RBI. Everyone else in the lineup had at least one hit apart from Chase Strumpf and Jared Young.


For those of you who like fireworks, Sunday's game at Quad Cities was for you as the Cubs fell in a shootout 14-12. Pitching was nowhere to be found in this one, with Burl Carraway and Eduarnial Nunez giving the Cubs three scoreless innings of relief while everyone else was rocked.

Tyler Durna got the offense started in the right direction on a first-inning RBI single, only to be outdone by Bryce Ball and his first homer as the Cubs were in front 3-0 in the first. Quad Cities used a Nathan Eaton triple and Maikel Garcia single to pull within 3-2 before the Dean Nevarez double in the second gave the Cubs a 4-2 lead.

Over the next two innings, it was all Quad Cities as they pushed across five runs, with three of those coming off a John Rave homer to put the River Bandits in front 7-4. Unlike games in the past, the Cubs refused to go down quietly, with D.J. Artis and newcomer Alexander Canario picking up RBI singles to pull within 7-6.

One inning later saw the Cubs take an 8-7 lead as Nevarez picked up another RBI double before coming home on the Josue Huma single. The Cubs continued to make things tough on the River Bandits scoring two runs for the third straight inning as a wild pitch, and Jake Slaughter single had them in front 10-7.

Much like South Bend, Quad Cities had an answer of their own as Michael Massey grounded out for the next run ahead of a Seuly Matias homer that brought things back to even 10-10. Massey came through one inning later with an RBI single before the Nelson Velazquez homer in the eighth gave the Cubs a 12-11 lead.

Tasked with closing out the game was Alex Whitney, and things didn't go well. Not only did he not record an out, but he blew the save when Rave picked up an RBI single to tie things up. To make matters worse, Nick Loftin took him deep a few pitches later to cap off a walk-off 14-12 win. Outside of Ryan Reynolds, everyone in the Cubs lineup had at least one hit, with Canario, Durna, Nevarez, and Velazquez picking up two. Ball connected for his first homer of the season in the loss.


Even with plenty of early offense that helped the Pelicans build a four-run lead, it was the Greenjackets getting the last laugh, plating two runs in the eighth to win 8-6. Manuel Espinoza started and pitched five solid innings of three-run ball to go with no walks and seven punchouts.

It was Kevin Made getting things started offensively as his RBI double put Myrtle Beach up 1-0 in the second before the Pelicans busted things open in the third. Matt Mervis came through with another clutch hit with the bases loaded, clearing the bases to build a 4-0 lead after three. It took five innings, Augusta, to get things going, but once they did, it was a long afternoon.

Despite Espinoza not walking a batter, he ran into some trouble in the fifth with Landon Stephens and Brandon Parker taking him deep to make things 4-3. One inning later saw the Greenjackets pull in front 6-4 as Stephens tied things up with an RBI single before Stephen Paolini doubled home a pair for the lead.

Needing some late-game offense to pull even, Made cashed in once again with an RBI single, bringing home a pair to make things 6-6. After a slow start to his season, Made is starting to find his stride and is showing the organization why he is a top 20 prospect. With the game tied in the bottom of the eighth, it was Stephens once again putting an exclamation point on his big day as his homer gave Augusta the lead for good 7-6. Cam Shephard added an RBI double later in the inning as the Pelicans went down 8-6.

Not only was Made responsible for three RBIs, but he led the team with three hits as his average has risen to .255. Ezequiel Pagan, Jacob Wetzel, Jordan Nwogu, Mervis, and Yohendrick Pinango picked up the remaining hits for Myrtle Beach, while Ed Howard and Ethan Hearn went hitless.

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