Down on Cubs Farm: Descalso homers for second straight game, SB keeps pace, Ems win, more


by - Staff Writer -
Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports
Rick Scuteri - USA Today Sports

Sunday was a hectic day on the farm as five teams played a total of six games. With two teams continue to struggle this week, the Cubs relied on their lower-level teams to provide the excitement. They did just that winning all four of their games to finish 4-2 on the day.

IOWA CUBS 2 – Memphis Redbirds 14: Things have not gone as planned for the Cubs since returning to Memphis as the Redbirds dominated the Cubs from start to finish 14-2. Not only was this the third straight win for Memphis but it dropped the Cubs to 66-59 on the season-closing the division gap to just seven games in the process.

Continuing to build back his stamina and get back to form, Adbert Alzolay struggled once again in his four-inning outing allowing four earned runs on seven hits to go with one walk and four strikeouts. It was the five-run fifth and three-run eighth that did the Cubs in as Memphis grabbed the lead early and never looked back.

After beginning his rehab assignment with a two-run shot on Saturday, Daniel Descalso wanted to show Iowa that his homer wasn’t a fluke as he connected for the second straight night with another two-run shot in the first giving the Cubs their lone lead 2-0. It was all Redbirds after that as Dylan Carlson got them on the board in the bottom of the first with a solo shot of his own to make it 2-1.

Homers from both Harrison Bader and Edmundo Sosa in the third put Memphis in front for good 3-2 before an Austin Warner single in the fourth pushed the lead to 4-2. Bader would then add his second homer of the game in the fifth before adding an RBI single in the sixth as the Redbirds stormed in front 11-2 through six innings. Three more runs in the eighth capped off the scoring with Memphis finishing the game with 14 unanswered runs in a 14-2 rout of Iowa.

Joining Descalso in the hit category was Trent Giambrone, Jim Adduci, Donnie Dewees, and Johnny Field as Iowa was held to just five hits in the game. Robel Garcia suffered an 0-4 two strikeout night while both Ben Zobrist and Albert Almora did not play in this one. James Norwood was the lone pitcher to toss a scoreless frame as he struck out all four batters, he faced in 1 1/3 inning of work.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 2 – Jackson Generals 3: At 51-74, all the Smokies can do at this point is remain competitive and hopefully wins will follow. Unfortunately, Sunday was not one of those occasions as the Generals only needed one inning of offense to pick up the win topping Tennessee 3-2.

That offense came in the third inning when Jackson chased starter Jake Stinnett from the game. After tossing two solid innings to open things up, Stinnett was unable to maneuver through the third as the Jeffrey Baez double got Jackson on the board ahead of a Dalton Varsho sacrifice fly for the 2-0 Generals lead. Add in a wild pitch later in the inning, and Jackson was in control 3-0 through three innings of play.

That score would hold up until the sixth inning when Tennessee began to make a comeback. With a pair of runners on base Tyler Payne lined one in front of Baez in right to make things a 3-1 game. A few pitches later saw Connor Myers come through with a single of his own and just like that it was 3-2 in favor of the Generals.

Despite an 11-hit effort, the Smokies were unable to get anyone else across home as they suffered another tough setback 3-2. Both Jared Young and Myers had the hot hand at the plate with each of them picking up two hits in the loss. All nine of the Tennessee starters had at least one hit in the game including both Nico Hoerner and Vimael Machin. In five innings of relief, the combination of Manuel Rondon, Bailey Clark, and Jordan Minch were impressive, allowing just one hit to give Tennessee ample chances to come back.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 3 – Salem Red Sox 1: In what was going to be a busy Sunday afternoon with a double-header, the Pelicans started the day off right by taking game one 3-1. Bryan Hudson got the call in this one and delivered a strong showing by allowing just one run on one hit in three innings of work. Erling Moreno earned the win in relief as the Pelicans offense came to life late to pick up the win.

The lone Red Sox run came in the first inning as Hudson was strong for the duration of his start. With a man on third and less than two outs, Ryan Fitzgerald picked up a sacrifice fly to give the Red Sox a 1-0 lead as that score looked as if it would hold up until the end.

It wasn’t until the fourth inning when the Pelicans finally busted through needing just that inning to provide enough offense. Luke Reynolds was able to supply the game-winning hit as his sixth homer of the season gave the Pels a 2-1 advantage. An Aramis Ademan sacrifice fly later that inning pushed the lead to 3-1 before the bullpen kept things there for the game one win.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 5 – Salem Red Sox 4 (eight innings): Looking for the Double Header sweep, the Pelicans turned to Alexander Vargas hoping his string of bad luck would end. In five innings, Vargas labored a bit, allowing four runs on nine hits while the offense was kept in check. Fortunately for Myrtle Beach, a late rally would be all they needed as they were able to send the game to extras before walking off Salem 5-4 to improve to 50-73.

Once again it was the Red Sox striking first in this one as Jagger Rusconi tallied a second-inning sacrifice fly before the lead doubled in the third on the Garrett Benge homer. A Grant Fennell single in the third cut things to 2-1 before Jhonny Bethencourt brought things back to even 2-2 with a fourth-inning single.

That tie didn’t hold up for too long as Ryan Fitzgerald put Salem back in front in the fifth with an RBI triple to make things 3-2. A few pitches later Keith Curcio doubled the lead at 4-2 as Salem looked to be in control. Down to their last at-bats and needing a pair of runs, Miguel Amaya came through in the clutch with an RBI double bringing home a pair and just like that it was 4-4 with the teams heading to extras.

With Jesus Camargo taking care of things in the top of the eighth, it was now in the hands of the offense if Myrtle Beach wanted to earn the sweep. That is precisely where they wanted things as Carlos Sepulveda picked up the single in the eighth to bring home the winning run as the Pelicans earned the sweep in walk-off fashion 5-4.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 9 – Great Lakes Loons 5: In what could play as one of the biggest series in the second half the Cubs were looking to make it two in a row against the first half league champs. Standing just one game out of first place, South Bend improved to 31-24 in the second half and 68-55 overall as they took down the Loons 9-5 to keep pace in the playoff race.

With Cam Sanders doing his part on the mound allowing just two runs in five innings of work, the South Bend offense rewarded him with nine runs of support including six in the fifth inning to pull away for the win. Sanders is now 7-4 on the season with a 2.97 ERA.

With Clayton Daniel giving the Cubs a 1-0 lead in the first with his first homer of the season, South Bend was able to build on that by never trailing. Their lead doubled in the third inning as newcomer and second-round pick Chase Strumpf got a pitch to his liking and crushed it for his first homer of the year and 2-0 SB lead.

The long ball continued to be huge for both teams with James Outman going deep for his 13th in the bottom of the third to get the Loons on the board 2-1. After both sides exchanged runs in the fourth, we headed to the fifth with South Bend up 3-2. That is when everything changed as the Cubs offense not only took control but erupted for a six-run inning putting the Loons in a hole they couldn’t recover from.

Strumpf continued his impressive day at the dish opening the scoring that inning with a sacrifice fly. After an Andy Weber double and Cole Roederer single made it a 6-2 game, Nelson Velazquez delivered the big blow of the inning as his second homer of the season gave the Cubs a 9-2 advantage. Great Lakes was able to push across three runs in both the eighth and ninth innings off a pair of homers and a single but couldn’t complete the comeback with the Cubs picking up another huge win 9-5.

South Bend pounded out 16 hits in the victory with Daniel, Nelson Maldonado, and Velazquez all collecting three in the win. Slaughter continued his amazing stretch in A-ball with another two-hit night as every starter had at least one hit in the game. Strumpf picked up his first hit for South Bend with that homer as he is 1-6 since his promotion.

EUGENE EMERALDS 2 – Spokane Indians 1: Don’t look now but the Emeralds are suddenly one of the hottest teams in the Northwest league over the past two weeks. After falling 8-1 on Saturday, the Emeralds responded with a nice win over Spokane to improve to 30-32 as their ninth-inning run proved to be the difference in the 2-1 victory.

Third-round pick Michael McAvene continued to show his potential as a future starter getting the start and lasting three innings to allow just two hits and four punchouts. The bullpen took over from there, allowing a total of one run on four hits the rest of the way to go with nine strikeouts as the Emeralds pitching struck out 13 batters in the win.

With both teams kept off the board through six innings, it was only a matter of time before someone broke through. That someone happened to be Eugene in the seventh as Jake Washer picked up the games first RBI with a double to put the Ems in front 1-0. That lead didn’t stand up long as Derwin Barreto tied things up with an eighth-inning sacrifice fly.

To the ninth, we went with things still tied as Eugene had a shot at playing the hero. That hero happened to be Luis Vazquez by singling past the shortstop giving the Emeralds the 2-1 lead with just three outs to go. After blowing the save in the eighth, Matteo Bocchi responded by shutting Spokane down in the ninth to pick up his first win of the season and preserve the 2-1 Emeralds win.

Vazquez certainly made his presence felt at the plate as he was responsible for three of the teams eight total hits to go with his game-winning RBI. No one else in Emerald's roster recorded a multi-hit night. Yunior Perez and Zach Bryant joined Bocchi out of the pen, as the trio through two innings each with nine total strikeouts in a dominating outing.

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