Down on Cubs Farm: Alzolay roughed up, Passantino wins AA debut, SB earns shutout, more
Alzolay had a medicore outing last time out (Kamil Krzaczynski - USA Today Sports)

Down on Cubs Farm: Alzolay roughed up, Passantino wins AA debut, SB earns shutout, more

by - Senior Writer -

The Cubs continue to play inspiring ball on the farm as they picked up a 3-2 record once again Saturday night.

IOWA CUBS 4 – Memphis Red Birds 5: After a two-start three appearance stint in the minors, Adbert Alzolay returned to AAA for his final tune-up before the Futures game all-star week. Alzolay had a rare rough outing in this one lasting just 3 1/3 innings and allowing five runs in the process as the Red Birds held off the Cubs 5-4.

After Jim Adduci put Iowa up 1-0 in the first, the Red Birds drew even in the second off an Irving Lopez double before taking control in the fourth inning. Alzolay has been on an impressive run during a four-start stretch for Iowa but all that came crashing down in a rough fourth inning.

Not only did Memphis keep the pressure on, but they did so by using plenty of hits as Lane Thomas, Harold Arauz and Randy Arozarena all picked up RBI singles to chase Alzolay, as a 1-1 tie quickly turned into a 5-1 Memphis lead.

Down but not out, the Cubs rallied in the bottom of the fifth as they made this a ball game once again. Following a leadoff double from Zack Short, it was Francisco Arcia coming through with a double of his own to make it a 4-2 game. With one down, Donnie Dewees kept his power surge going as his 12th homer of the season made it a 5-4 as we headed to the sixth. Unfortunately for Iowa, that was as close as they would get as Trent Giambrone managed to pick up the teams only hit the final four frames to fall to Red Birds 5-4.

This was a must win for Memphis if they wanted to stay in the division race as Iowa still leads the way at 51-38. Don’t look now but Ian Happ is starting to heat up picking up two more hits to lead the way for the Cubs. Mark Zagunis joined Happ in the multi-hit effort while four others added a hit of their own. The Iowa bullpen was solid in their 5 2/3 innings of work, with Craig Brooks standing out with a 4K performance in a 2 2/3 shutout performance.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 4 – Montgomery Biscuits 2: The incredible journey of Jeffrey Passantino continued Saturday as he pitched for his third team in the past two weeks. After making two impressive starts for AAA, Passantino was optioned to AA where he made another season debut. If this start was a sign of things to come the rest of the way, the Smokies are going to be happy as Passantino allowed just 2ER in five innings of work while the offense did just enough to win 4-2.

The Smokies got right to work in the first inning as their offense was certainly up for the challenge at hand. Two batters into the game Tennessee had a pair of runners on base as Wynton Bernard led things off with a double ahead of a Nico Hoerner walk. That set things up nicely for Jared Young who went deep for his fourth of the season and 3-0 Smokies lead. That proved to be the winning hit as the pitching was strong throughout.

It took four innings for the Biscuits to get on the board, but it was Brett Sullivan picking up a triple in the fourth inning to put Montgomery on the board 3-1. Charcer Burks got that run right back with a sacrifice fly in the fifth before Jesus Sanchez made it a 4-2 with an RBI single in the bottom of the fifth as Montgomery was now finding their groove.

Fortunately for Tennessee, the bullpen took care of the rest as the combination of Michael Rucker and Jordan Minch slammed the door over the final four innings to give the Smokies a much needed 4-2 win. Tennessee is 40-46 on the season as they are looking for consistency once again.

Bernard continued to set the table at the leadoff spot collecting a team-high three hits in the win. Four other Smokies tallied one hit including both Hoerner and Vimael Machin. All three of these players are hitting north of 300 for the season.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 3 – Lynchburg Hillcats 5: With Javier Assad toeing the rubber, the Pelicans were confident in his abilities to help them win another game. Assad gutted it out through six innings of work, but with 5R and 4ER allowed, the Pelicans were not able to back him offensively falling to the Hillcats 5-3.

The Pelicans wasted no time getting the offense going taking a 1-0 lead in the second off a Kevonte Mitchell grounder. After Steven Kwan tied things up 1-1 with a single in the third, Mike Rivera put the Hillcats on top for good in the fourth with his third homer of the season and 4-1 lead. That homer proved to be the game-winning RBI’s as Myrtle Beach struggled to get a big inning going.

In the fifth inning, it was Tyler Payne getting in on the fun picking up an RBI single of his own to make it 4-2.

Lynchburg got that run right back in the bottom half of the fifth when Will Benson tallied a sacrifice fly to score the Hillcats final run making it a 5-2 game.

The Pelicans continued to battle back in the sixth inning as Delvin Zinn picked up a sacrifice fly of his own to bring things within 5-3. That would be as close as the Pelicans would get as they were unable to solve the Hillcats pitching over the final three frames eventually falling 5-3 to Lynchburg. Myrtle Beach is 30-54 of the year.

Jimmy Herron continued to be the spark at the top of the order, recording three more hits from the leadoff spot. Cam Balego also had a huge night adding three hits of his own while Payne tallied two to go with his RBI.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 1 – Dayton Dragons 0: Who needs hitting when you had a pitching performance like South Bend delivered in Dayton on Monday? The trio of Cam Sanders, Ivan Medina, and Sean Barry combined to allow 5H and 0ER while walking none and striking out eight in a thoroughly dominated performance on the hill. The Cubs needed just one run to get the job done holding off the Dragons 1-0 on Saturday.

It may have taken four innings to get the scoring going, but better late than never in the Cubs case. Brennan Davis got the fourth inning started in a big way legging out a triple to put himself in scoring position. One pitch later saw Fidel Mejia notched the winning single to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead. A Christopher Morel single and Cole Roederer walk loaded the bases to set up a golden scoring chance but were unable to push across anything more in that half of an inning.

Surprisingly, that is all the Cubs would need offensively as their pitching kept the Dragons off balance throughout for the 1-0 victory. South Bend improves to 46-38 on the season as this is a crucial stretch for the Cubs in terms of playoff hopes. With just five hits in the game, the Cubs had to make sure those hits counted as Morel continued a weeklong hot streak with two more hits. Clayton Daniel, Davis and Mejia added the other three hits while Barry lowered his ERA to 0.83 to earn his fourth save of the season.

EUGENE EMERALDS 13 – Everett Aqua Sox 7: After being pummeled the first two games of this series, the Emeralds got the bats working in game three as they pounded out a season-high 13 runs and picked up the 13-7 victory over the Aqua Sox. Last years 20th round pick Chris Allen made the start and went five innings strong to allow 3R only 2ER as the offense took care of things from there.

It was the Aqua Sox taking the early lead as they plated a pair of runs in the first two innings to jump in front 2-0. A Fernando Kelli second inning single got the Emeralds on the board but once again in the third Everett was able to come through when Cade Marlowe doubled to push the lead to 3-1. Grayson Byrd made things 3-2 with a single before the Emeralds surged in front in the fourth with one of their two huge innings.

Already with two runners on base in the bottom of the fourth, Edmond Americaan put the Emeralds on top for good with his first homer of the season to make things a 5-3 game. Byrd, who already was responsible for one RBI connected for a double later in that half of an inning to bring home a pair and just like that the Eugene lead ballooned to 7-3.

Now up 8-3 after the Darius Hill seventh-inning sacrifice fly, Eugene got the bats working again with another huge frame in the eighth. Once again, Byrd found himself in the middle of the action working a bases-loaded walk to make things 9-3. Eugene went on to add RBI singles from Jacob Olson, Hill and Americaan later that inning with their lead increasing to 13-3 with just three outs to go to secure the win.

Looking for the same offensive boost that they started the game with, the Aqua Sox began to make some noise in the ninth inning as they aimed to get back in the game. With Eduarniel Nunez cruising along through his first three innings of relief, he ran into a lot of trouble in the ninth yielding four runs in that half of an inning to bring things within 13-7. Only one of those runs came from a hit with rest coming from a walk, wild pitch and sacrifice fly. However, the Emeralds were able to hold Everett right there as Alfredo Colorado was able to stop the bleeding to pick up the 13-7 win.

Eugene reaches the 10-win mark following their victory improving to 10-13 on the season as they look to get out of last place. Both Americaan and 2019 25th rounder Zac Taylor had big games at the plate with both tallying three hits in the ball game. Americaan also had a huge game offensively pacing the offense with 4 RBI’s while fellow teammate Byrd added four RBI’s of his own to go with two hits.

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