Down on the Cubs Farm: 2-2 record, Iowa close to franchise mark, Pelicans stay hot, more

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by - Staff Writer -
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports

The Cubs farmhands are beginning to turn heads as their system has shown significant development this season. Although not ranked highly with Baseball America, you can find talent at every level indicating that the Cubs do indeed have a bright future. More of those players showed up Tuesday night as the farmhands went 2-2 on the night.

IOWA CUBS 6 – Memphis Redbirds 5: A new team, a new day, but still the same results as the Iowa Cubs used some late-game magic to win yet again 6-5 for their seventh straight victory. Taking the ball in this one was recently demoted Alec Mills as he was making just his second start of the year.

Although his final line may look less than impressive (3 2/3 innings, 4ER, 3H, 4BB and 4K) Mills didn’t pitch all that bad as all of the runs allowed came in the third inning against Memphis. That damage came on one swing as Mills loaded the bases with some control issues before Adolis Garcia went deep for the grand slam and 4-0 Memphis lead. Mills was chased shortly after that pitch as a combination of five bullpen arms held Memphis to just one run the rest of the way.

Down by four entering the seventh inning, the Cubs offense finally got on the board at the bottom of the order set the stage for the top. With two outs, Francisco Arica extended the inning with a single while Jacob Hannemann walked to put a pair of runners on base. Donnie Dewees and Johnny Field picked up consecutive RBI singles shortly after to cut into the deficit 4-2.

Iowa took the lead for good in the eighth as their offense was now clicking on all cylinders. A leadoff walk by Ian Happ was followed by Addison Russell hit by a pitch and then a Phillip Evans walk as the bases were loaded with no outs. Wynton Bernard cashed in on that opportunity two batters later clearing the bases for an RBI triple to give the Cubs a 5-4 lead. A Hannemann groundout pushed across the sixth run of the game which proved to be the game-winner pushing the lead to 6-4.

Memphis was able to get one of those runs back in the eighth when Joe Hudson went deep for the fourth time this season, but it wasn’t enough as Randy Rosario despite allowing three hits in the ninth, was able to keep the Redbirds off the scoreboard shutting the door for the 6-5 win.

Iowa now stands at 22-10 and is one win away from tying a franchise-best start. Dakota Mekkes earned his first win of the season as he allowed the lone bullpen run on the night. Tom Collins, Brian Duensing, Rosario, and Alberto Baldonado all chipped in on the mound to help Iowa comeback for the win. Iowa managed just five hits in the ball game but did pick up 12 walks. Six of those walks came from Happ and Evans as they showed patience at the dish to earn three apiece. Russell was 0-4 with 3 k’s.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 5 – Chattanooga Lookouts 8: A promising start on Tuesday night quickly turned sour as the Lookouts needed just one inning to break out the bats and hold off the Smokies for the 8-5 win. That inning came in the second inning as the Lookouts plated seven runs in that frame to chase Justin Steele before the bullpen was able to hold on for the win.

Things were not all that bad for Tennessee early as their bats showed up right away in the first inning. A leadoff double from Roberto Caro set the stage as Vimael Machin followed that up with a double of his own for the quick 1-0 lead. After a pair of walks loaded the bases with one out, Charcer Burks grounded into a force extend the lead to 2-0. A Luis Vazquez single capped off the scoring for the Smokies as they led 3-0 after one.

It was in the second inning when Steele not only lost his command but got walloped when he did find his spots. With Mitch Nay opening the inning up with a solo shot, it appeared that Steele was never himself after that. As the Lookouts climbed within 3-2, Ibandel Isabel singled home the go-ahead run as the Lookouts never looked back 4-3. A bases-loaded Nay double proved to be the winning run as Chattanooga took the 7-3 lead into the third before Isabel added another RBI double in the fourth for the 8-3 lead.

Down, but not entirely out of it yet, the Smokies began to chip away in the sixth inning. It was Vazquez getting things started with a one-out double as he would advance third off a Connor Myers single. Jesse Hodges pushed home the fourth run of the game with an RBI groundout which was followed by a Caro single to make it an 8-5 game. That would be as close as Tennessee would get as the Chattanooga bullpen locked things down over the final three innings to hand the Smokies an 8-5 loss.

Tennessee now sits at 15-16 on the season as they are desperately missing Nico Hoerner in their lineup. Caro, Machin, and Vazquez set the done-on offense picking up two hits apiece and accounting for three RBI’s. Scott Effross and Brad Markey were impressive in relief, going 6 1/3 inning and allowing just one to give the Smokies a chance to come back.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 4 – Down East Wood Ducks 3: The Pelicans finally got the monkey off their back on Tuesday as they were able to put an end to the seven-game losing streak at the hands of Down East and picked up a 4-3 win to remain hot in May. Looking to put a substantial stretch of starts together was Erling Moreno as he gave Myrtle Beach his best outing thus far in 2019. Moreno went 6 1/3 inning, allowing 1 ER, on 4 H. He walked two and did not strike out a batter, but he did what he needed to do to win.

The Pelicans offense did something in the first unfamiliar to them against Down East as they opened up the scoring to play with the lead. With Zach Davis and Jimmy Herron already on base following a single and a walk, Miguel Amaya cashed in the first run with a single to center to put the Pelicans up 1-0. With Moreno doing his thing on the mound, that score would hold up until the fourth when Jhonny Bethencourt added a single of his own to give Myrtle Beach a 2-0 lead through four.

The lone run off Moreno came in the seventh as Down East looked to mount a late-game comeback. A walk to Ryan Dorow followed by a wild pitch had a runner in scoring position with just one out. Diosbel Arias made sure Dorow wouldn’t be stranded singling him home for the 2-1 deficit and chasing Moreno in the process.

With it being a now one-run game in the eighth, the Pelicans were looking for some insurance runs in hopes of holding on for the win. Look no further than Grant Fannell and Aramis Ademan. The two of them added a sacrifice fly and an RBI single in the eighth to put Myrtle Beach up 4-1. Those runs proved to be extremely important as the Wood Ducks picked up an eighth-inning homer from Yohel Pozo before a ninth-inning single from Arias made it 4-3.
Fortunately, Ben Hecht was able to keep it right there as he regrouped in the ninth to seal the deal for his second save of the season and 4-3 Pelicans victory. The win is the fourth straight for Myrtle Beach as they are now 11-21 on the year. Bethencourt and Ademan each had a pair of hits in the game contributing for four of the eight on the day. Four other players added one hit as Myrtle Beach is finally starting to win some games in 2019.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 5 – Cedar Rapids Kernels 8: It was a rough night on the diamond for the Cubs as they couldn’t get anything consistent going. A night after throwing a no-hitter, Cam Sanders and company got lit up for eight runs as they couldn’t overcome a late inning rally by the Kernels and fell 8-5.
The Kernels wanted to make sure Monday night didn’
t happen all over again, so they opened up the scoring in a big way in the second. A pair of sacrifice flies from Andrew Bechtold and Estamy Urena gave Cedar Rapids a quick 2-0 lead, but they were not finished. Jacob Pearson would cap off that inning with a two-run single as the Kernals were up big 4-0.

Not to be outdone, the Cubs put together a big inning of their own in the third as they clawed right back into the game. Victor Caratini continued his rehab assignment picking up an RBI single to get the Cubs on the board. With the bases loaded later in the inning, Jonathan Sierra came through with a double to clear the bases as South Bend drew even 4-4 through three innings of play.

The Kernals retook the lead in the fourth on a double play ball before South Bend rallied once again in the seventh. This time it was Eric Gonzalez tying things up 5-5 as his seventh-inning single scored Christopher Morel and we had a tie game once again. That tie was short lived as the Kernals rallied in the eighth to take control for good.

With the bases loaded and looking for a clutch hit, Gilberto Celestino came through with a grounder up the middle plating a pair for the 7-5 Kernals lead. Those runs proved to be the game-winning RBI’s in the game. Cedar Rapids was able to add one more for good measure as a wild pitch made it 8-5 with the Cubs down to their final six outs. South Bend was unable to rally in the closing innings putting just one runner on base and falling to 16-15 on the season with the 8-5 loss.

Caratini appears ready to get back to Chicago, going 1-3 with an RBI in the loss. Sierra and Morel each had two hits in the game, with Sierra picking up three RBI’s.

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Tags: Alec Mills, Jacob Hannemann, Ian Happ, Addison Russell, Randy Rosario, Brian Duensing, Justin Steele, Victor Caratini
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