Down on the Cubs Farm: 2-2 record, Iowa wins slugfest, South Bend walk-off in extras, more

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

Fourth of July came early Sunday night, as the Cubs farmhands delivered plenty of fireworks on the diamond. With three of the four teams in action scoring ten-plus runs, the offense was undoubtedly not an issue as the bats produced at an unreal level. Despite that, there was plenty of drama throughout as a pair of bullpen meltdowns prevented the Cubs from going 4-0 as they settled for 2-2.

IOWA CUBS 14 – New Orleans Baby Cakes 10: Fans were treated to an offensive firework display on Sunday as the two teams combined for 24 runs in the contest. Fortunately for Iowa, they managed to come out on top picking up the 14-10 victory.

The Cubs wasted no time taking the lead needing just a few at-bats to grab the advantage. Ian Happ worked a one-out walk before Phillip Evans was able to extend the inning with a two-out hit by pitch. That proved to be costly for New Orleans as Robel Garcia laced a triple to right field plating a pair and giving the Cubs a quick 2-0 lead.

Isan Diaz continued to torment Iowa getting a run a right back in the bottom of the first with his 10th homer of the season. New Orleans was able to tie things up in the second inning on a delayed double steal before the Iowa bats got hot in the third.

With Duane Underwood Jr. struggling once again with another start, the Iowa offense knew they had to carry the load if they expected to come out on top. Look no further than Jim Adduci and Johnny Field who each connected for two-run shots in the third to put Iowa back on top 6-2. Adduci was able to pad the lead to 7-2 with a fourth-inning single, but that is when the New Orleans bats came to life.

Starting with Gabriel Guerrero and his RBI double, the Baby Cakes were able to tie things up at 7-7 with a five-run frame chasing Underwood in the process. Matt Snyder (2RBI) and Yadiel Rivera also picked up RBI hits in that half inning as we had a brand new ball game.

With the score still tied 7-7 in the seventh, the Cubs were hoping to put the game to bed with another big inning. This time it was Taylor Davis getting things started with his third homer of the season as the Cubs were back in front 9-7. Happ picked up an RBI single later in that inning to push the lead to 10-7 in favor of Iowa.

Much like earlier when the Baby Cakes erased a significant deficit, they managed to once again tie the game in the bottom half of the seventh with another strong inning. Lewis Brinson stayed red hot since being demoted to AAA as he plated a pair with a single to bring things to 10-9. A passed ball a few pitches later pushed across another run and once again the teams were tied up 10-10.

It wasn’t until the ninth inning when the Cubs were finally able to put things to rest coming with yet another multi-run inning. Jacob Hannemann provided the game-winning hit with a single to make it 11-10 Cubs. However, it was Adduci sealing the deal with a base-clearing double to push the lead to 14-10. Adduci took home player of the game honors going 3-6 with 6 RBI’s as Dakota Mekkes picked up the win after blowing the save earlier in the game.

Iowa is back to nine games over .500 sitting at 30-21 for the year. Davis and Happ joined Adduci with three-hit days as Iowa pounded out 15 hits in the win. Dixon Machado was the only starter unable to pick up a hit in the win.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 10 – Pensacola Blue Wahoos 11: If the offensive output in AAA wasn’t enough to get you excited, maybe seeing another offensive explosion in AA would do the trick as the Blue Wahoos erased a six-run deficit to secure an 11-10 series finale win.

Cory Abbott took the ball in this game and for the most part, did reasonably well. In his 4 2/3 innings, Abbott allowed 3R on 4H with 3BB and 6K. However, only one of those runs was an earned run, so his ERA dropped to 2.88 for the year. Looking to back Abbott with some strong offense, Tennessee did that and more in the second inning.

With one out, consecutive singles from Christian Donahue and Jesse Hodges put runners on the corners with a chance at a big inning. Gioskar Amaya got in on the hit parade for the third straight single giving the Smokies a 1-0 lead. Now with two outs, the Smokies once again ripped off three consecutive hits as Roberto Caro, Vimael Machin and Jared Young all collected RBI singles to push the lead to 4-0 after two.

The Blue Wahoos began to chip away at the lead over the fourth and fifth innings as Caleb Hamilton (double), Ernie De La Trinidad (sacrifice fly) and Ben Rortveldt (walk) made it a 4-3 game heading to the bottom of the fifth. Hodges was able to get one of those runs back in the fifth with a triple, but the Travis Blakenhorn sixth inning double brought things to 5-4.

It appeared the game was over in the bottom of the seventh as the Smokies erupted for another huge inning. Starting with Caro launching his second homer of the season, the Smokies had plenty of traffic on the bases making things difficult for Pensacola to keep their confidence. Young would later add an RBI double which was followed up by a P.J. Higgins single, Jhonny Pareda double and Hodges single as the Smokies were in complete control 10-4 through six.

For the next three innings, the Blue Wahoos appeared to figure out the Smokies bullpen as they began to use them as batting practice. Rortvedt went deep for his first homer of the season in the seventh as the lead was cut to 10-6. Blankenhorn continued the comeback bid with a double, and just like that, it was a 10-8 game.

Caleb Hamilton worked a bases-loaded walk in the top of the eighth to close the gap to 10-9 before De La Trinidad tied things up 10-10 with a sacrifice fly later that inning. With the Smokies entirely in shock, the Blue Wahoos completed the comeback bid in the ninth inning when Blankenhorn went deep for his 8th homer of the year giving Pensacola their first lead of the night 11-10.

Looking to figure things out at the plate in the ninth with hopes of somehow pulling out the win, the Smokies were unable to recover as they were sent down in order and fell 11-10. The heart-breaking defeat sends the Smokies to 25-24 on the season as they couldn’t pull out the rubber game win.

The Smokies had plenty of big nights at the plate, but it was Young and his 4-5 night leading the way. Caro, Pereda, and Hodges all added three hits apiece in the game as the Smokies piled up 12 hits in the defeat.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 5 – Wilmington Blue Rocks 6: The unlucky night of heart-breaking defeats continued for the Pelicans as they wasted an early lead to fall 6-5 to Wilmington. Paul Richan was on the mound looking to bounce back from a rough start his last time out. That was not going to be the case as Richan yielded 5ER on 8H over five innings of work in the ND effort.

With Wilmington able to break through in the first inning courtesy of a Dennicher Carrasco sacrifice fly, the Pelicans were able to take the lead in the second on the strength of terrific plate discipline. Grant Fennell gets the inning started with a walk as Aramis Ademan followed that up with a single. With one out, Carlos Sepulveda worked another to load the bases as Myrtle Beach was threatening.

In danger of stranding three runners on base after the Kevonte Mitchell popout, Zach Davies and D.J. Wilson continued to show patience at the dish earning bases-loaded walks to give the Pelicans a 2-1 lead through two. That score would hold up until the bottom of the fifth inning when the Blue Rocks were able to get to Richan, chasing him from the game.

It was all about clutch hits in this inning as Brewer Hicklen tied the game up 2-2 with an RBI triple. Christin Perez followed that up with a single to give Wilmington the 3-2 lead, but it was the long ball from Nick Pratto that delivered the exclamation point as the Blue Rocks now led 5-2.

Looking to get back on track, Myrtle Beach began mounting their comeback in the eighth inning. Once again, it was the walks that proved to be beneficial to the Pelicans as Wilson led things off with a walk. After stealing second, Wilson advanced to third on a fielder’s choice as runners were on the corners with no outs.

Cam Balego was able to cash in on that scoring chance ripping a single to make it 5-3 Wilmington. Fennell brought home the second run of the inning via a sacrifice fly before Ademan collected another single to tie things up 5-5 heading into the ninth inning. With just three outs to go before extra innings, the Blue Rocks had one last chance to make things happen off Manuel Rodriguez. They did just that as Rodriguez committed a three-base throwing error which led to the walk-off sacrifice fly from Hicklen to give the Blue Rocks a 6-5 walk-off win.

The Pelicans fall to 18-33 with the loss as this one will sting a little bit. Ademan was the leader offensively going 3-4 with an RBI in the loss. He accounted for half of the team’s hits as they also took seven walks in the loss. Ryan Kellogg turned in a bounce-back relief appearance going three scoreless innings.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 11 – West Michigan Whitecaps 10: The theme of the day for the Cubs farm system was not only a lot of runs but plenty of drama to go along with those runs. That was indeed the case for the South Bend Cubs as they managed to pull out a dramatic walk-off win in extra innings 11-10.

Derek Casey took the ball in this one and was roughed up in his five-inning no decision. Casey allowed 4ER on 8H as his ERA rose to 6.30. Fortunately for him, the offense packed him with plenty of support, which allowed him to avoid a loss. South Bend opened up the scoring immediately in the first two innings as a Tyler Durna and Delvin Zinn smoked RBI singles for a quick 2-0 lead through two.

A third inning Jose King double brought things to 2-1 before the South Bend bats came up huge in the fifth. Andy Weber very well could be the hottest hitter in A ball right now, and that continued with an RBI double and 3-1 lead. Durna would later follow that up with his second RBI single of the night before Cole Roederer made it a 5-1 game with another RBI single.

West Michigan responded with a big sixth inning of their own, chasing Casey before he could make it out of that inning with an Ulrich Bojarksi double and Sam McMillan single to make it a 5-4 game. A seventh-inning Christopher Morel double pushed the lead to 6-4 before West Michigan tied it up in the eighth off of a Reynaldo Rivera infield single as we headed to extras tied 6-6.

Looking to deliver the knockout punch West Michigan erupted with a huge 10th inning that saw them plate three runs to take a 9-6 lead. Not to be outdone, it was the Cubs turn to return the favor with a Brennan Davis single and Gustavo Polanco homer and just like that we were off to the 11th tied 9-9.

Once again, it was the Whitecaps grabbing the lead once again as Bojarski came through with a sacrifice fly and 10-9 lead. Down to their final three outs, the Cubs refused to quit as they rallied yet again. With a pair of runners already on base, Jonathan Sierra lofted a single to center scoring Zinn and bringing things even at 10-10. With the bases loaded and a chance to play hero, it was Morel coming through with a single to give the Cubs an extra inning walk off 11-10 win.

South Bend is now 27-21 with the win and are moving up in the standings. Sierra and Durna led the way with three hits each, while Zinn and Morel added two in the 16-hit barrage. Every starter in the Cubs lineup collected at least one hit in the game.

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Tags: Ian Happ, Phillip Evans, Robel Garcia, Duane Underwood, Jim Adduci, Taylor Davis, Jacob Hannemann, Dakota Mekkes, Dixon Machado, Cory Abbott, Christian Donahue, Jesse Hodges, Gioskar Amaya, Roberto Caro, Vimael Machin, Jared Young, Paul Richan, Aramis Ademan, Carlos Sepulveda, Kevonte Mitchell, Cam Balego, Manuel Rodriguez, Ryan Kellogg, Derek Casey, Tyler Durna, Delvin Zinn, Andy Weber, Cole Roederer, Christopher Morel, Gustavo Polanco, Jonathan Sierra
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