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Cubs Minor League News: Hill raking, Perlaza makes I-Cubs history, Caissie raking, more
Photo courtesy: Iowa Cubs

Cubs Minor League News: Hill raking, Perlaza makes I-Cubs history, Caissie raking, more


by - Senior Writer -

Where has this play been for the Cubs and their Minor League system the past month? Sure, there were plenty of positive results to go around, but three of the final four weeks were not very good, which nearly hurt several teams in the playoff standings.

How do they bounce back by putting together one of their better weeks of competition to close out the regular season and have now posted three consecutive days of undefeated baseball. That includes Tuesday night when Tennessee opened their playoff series against Chattanooga with a win while Iowa continued to play well to close out the season.

IOWA CUBS 8 - LOUISVILLE BATS 4

Unfortunately, with how the Minor League playoffs work, Iowa would be right in the middle of the playoff hunt. Despite being 80-62 and having the best team in the Cubs system, Iowa will miss the postseason as they could not win either half-title. At least they are playing well to close out the season, as Samuel Reyes started another bullpen game with the offense taking care of the rest.

Reyes has pitched exceptionally well since arriving in Iowa, and after giving the Cubs three innings of one-run baseball, his ERA fell to 4.50, but just 3.25 in his last four outings. He was followed by a quartet of relievers, including Brandon Hughes, Ben Brown, Tyler Duffey, and Brendon Little, as Little picked up the win. Brown did struggle with his command, as he walked three and struck out one, but minimized the damage.

Brett Kennedy was opposing Reyes and the Cubs and was hit hard early as he allowed six runs in less than four innings. Most of the damage came in Iowa's third and fourth innings, but Darius Hill put them in front 1-0 with an RBI single in the first.

Iowa would never trail from that point on as a pair of RBI knocks from Cole Roederer and David Bote in the third pushed the Cubs lead to 3-0.

Louisville did manage to push across a run in the bottom of the third on the Chuckie Robinson homer, but that was as close as they would get the rest of the way. Looking to add to their lead in the fourth, the Iowa offense continued their relentless assault and began to blow the game wide open. Nelson Maldonado played a part in that with his solo homer, but after a wild pitch and another RBI hit from Hill, the Cubs held a 6-1 lead four innings in.

The Bats started to battle back against Brown in the fifth as his lack of command led to an RBI knock from TJ Hopkins to make things 6-2, with the Jason Vosler sacrifice fly pulling the Bats within 6-3. A wild pitch in the seventh once again made this a two-run game, but that was Louisville's final run for the night. Iowa did manage to scratch across a pair of eighth-inning runs as Roederer delivered an RBI single before coming home on the third RBI single from Hill in the Cubs 8-4 win.

Hill paced the offense with three hits and three RBIs, as he has been coming on the last two weeks. Roederer, Bote, and Matt Mervis added two hits, with Roederer delivering two RBIs. Chase Strumpf was the only Cub without a hit as his average dipped to .199.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 3 - CHATTANOOGA LOOKOUTS 1

Just like that, the Smokies are one win away from the Southern League Championship series after taking down the Lookouts 3-1. It does help when your Ace and potential Minor League pitcher of the year, Cade Horton, is on the mound as the right-hander again dominated. Horton continues to impress as he put his 1.33 season ERA behind him to toss five shutout innings against the Lookouts with seven strikeouts.

The Smokies needed a performance like that from him, as Julian Aguiar was excellent, allowing just three runs in six innings to give his team a chance. All of the Smokies offense came in one inning, which would be all they would need in the game. With the score tied 0-0 in the third, BJ Murray Jr. came through with the go-ahead RBI single as the Smokies took a 1-0 lead.

They were far from done in that third inning as the Owen Caissie double doubled the lead to 2-0 and proved to be the game-winning hit in the process. The Smokies closed out that three-run third with the Haydn McGeary RBI groundout as they gave Horton a 3-0 lead, which was more than enough support for him.

Immediately following the departure of Horton, Chattanooga seemed to have instant momentum as they took their swings against Porter Hodge in the sixth. Hodge didn't help himself as he loaded the bases before being lifted for Zac Leigh. One batter into his outing, and this was a 3-1 game as Leigh walked in the first and only run of the day for the Lookouts. He bounced back to finish the sixth, while Riley Martin and Hunter Bigge finished things off to give the Smokies a 1-0 series lead.

Murray Jr. and Caissie delivered four of the team's six hits in the win while driving in a pair. Kevin Alcantara and Pablo Aliendo picked up the final two hits as the Smokies will look to finish the Lookouts off on Thursday.

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