Down on the Cubs Farm: Smokies win in extras, Amaya’s big night, Happ and Hoerner hurt

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by - Staff Writer -
Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
Jake Roth - USA Today Sports

It was a rough night on the farm for the Cubs as wins and losses were the least of their concerns. Despite a 2-2 record on the night, all attention was directed toward Ian Happ and Nico Hoerner as both players have new injuries that were announced.

IOWA CUBS 2 – New Orleans Baby Cakes 5: The May slide continues for the Cubs as they fell to the Baby Cakes 5-2 to put a sour note to the end of the homestand. On the mound was Duane Underwood Jr. who continues to search for wins. However, it was not his fault in this outing as all three runs he allowed in his 5 2/3 innings of work were unearned in the defeat.

With JT Riddle starting the game off with a single, it was a crucial fielding error by Donnie Dewees that opened the flood gates as two runners were in scoring position with no outs. Lewis Brinson opened the scoring with a two-run single before advancing to second on a Taylor Davis passed ball. That proved to be costly as Bryan Holaday singled him home for the 3-0 New Orleans lead.

Looking to erase the horrible inning in the field from the top of the first, Ian Happ got the cubs on the board in the bottom of the first crushing his fifth homer of the season to make it a 3-1 game. That was about the only good news Iowa had on the day as Happ would later depart with an injury on his right hand fielding a grounder (latest estimates out possibly 1-4 days). After the rough first inning, Underwood Jr. settled in nicely and pitched one of his better outings of the season to keep things close.

That was until the seventh inning when the Baby Cakes hit Tim Collins somewhat hard to stretch their lead to four. It was a pair of solo home runs that got the job done as Isaac Galloway and Gabriel Guerrero each hit their fifth of the season to make it a 5-1 game. Iowa managed to plate one more run in the bottom of the ninth on a wild pitch, but couldn’t get the job done falling 5-2.

Iowa continues to search for answers as of late as they have fallen to 26-19 on the season. The Cubs mustered just five hits in the game with Taylor Davis, Jacob Hannemann, Johnny Field, and Jim Adduci joining Happ with one hit each. Happ took 1BB and 1K later in the game before departing with an injury while James Norwood was dominant in relief needing just 19 pitches to get through two innings with 3K.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 3 – Jackson Generals 2: It took 12 innings, but the Smokies managed to pull out a 3-2 win to move back to .500. The win did come with some bad news as top prospect Nico Hoerner will now be out longer than expected after another MRI gave him less than pleasing results.

After taking a pitch off the wrist a month ago, the Smokies labeled it a bone bruise and have been taking their time with him for recovery. Hoping to come back next week, Hoerner was experiencing some pain in Arizona forcing the Cubs organization to do a second MRI. The diagnosis is not good as it revealed Hoerner has a hairline fracture in his wrist and will have to be shut down once again for at least another month. Don’t expect to see him until after the all-star break.

Back to the game, Cory Abbott got the start and continues to show why a AAA call up may soon be in his future. Abbott allowed just 2 ER on 2H in six innings to lower his ERA to 2.96. He did walk four batters to go with 5K as the command was a rare issue.

Runs were undoubtedly at a premium as it wasn’t until the fourth inning when Tennessee broke through first. With two men on base, P.J. Higgins hit a grounder to the SS, but a fielding error allowed for the run to score and 1-0 Smokies lead. The Generals were finally able to break through Abbott in the sixth as an Andy Young double followed by a Ramon Hernandez single gave Jackson the 2-1 lead. The Smokies responded in the top of the seventh with a sacrifice fly from Charcer Burks to tie things 2-2 as the bullpens held tough going into extra innings.

Already in the 12th with the game still tied, it was the Smokies looking to finish things off. With a runner automatically on second base, Christian Donahue worked a walk before a double steal moved both runners up 90 feet. That set the stage for Burks once again as he picked up his second sacrifice fly of the game to give the Smokies the 3-2 lead. Tommy Nance took care of things in the bottom half of the inning for his second save of the year to preserve the 3-2 win. Wyatt Short earned his third win of the season in relief.

The Smokies are now 22-22 as they try to make do without Hoerner for the foreseeable future. The Smokies managed just five hits in the win.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 8 – Frederick Keys 5: With rising pitching prospect Paul Richan on the bump, the Pelicans aimed to start the road trip on a positive note. Richan may not have been as sharp as he has been in previous starts allowing 4 ER on 8H in 5 2/3, but it was still just enough as one big inning from the Pelicans was enough to give him his fifth win of the season (5-2) picking up the 8-5 victory.

Richan was sharp early as the Keys couldn’t generate much offense until the middle innings. They did, however, strike first in the second as the Jake Ring RBI triple gave Frederick the 1-0 lead. That lead was short lived as the Pelicans bats came out swinging in the third.

With an error allowing Kevonte Mitchell to reach base to start the inning, Jimmy Herron was hit by a pitch putting two runners on base. Both runners advanced to scoring position after a sacrifice bunt, but it was Miguel Amaya putting the Pelicans in front for good with a single and the 2-1 lead. With Luke Reynolds reaching base via another walk, Aramis Ademan extended the lead to 4-1, connecting for his fourth double of the season. Grant Fennell capped off the inning with an RBI groundout a 5-1 Pelicans lead.

Cam Balego delivered what can be considered the game-winning RBI in the top of the fifth as he went deep for the third time this season and a 6-1 lead. It was in the bottom of the fifth when the Keys began to get to Richan. Starting with a Ring homer, Yeltsin Gudino cut things to 6-3 following a sacrifice fly. Now 7-3 after a Herron sacrifice fly, it was that man Ring again picking up an RBI single to cut the lead to 7-4 in the sixth and chase Richan.

Austin Hays brought the Keys within two with a solo homer in the seventh, but the Pelicans refused to give up any more runs as Amaya ended his long homerless drought in the top of the ninth with his fifth of the season to give the Pelicans the 8-5 win.

Myrtle Beach is now 17-28 on the season. Amaya had one of his better games of the season going 2-4 with 1HR and 3RBI to raise his average to .208. He was the lone Pelican with multiple hits as six others added one in the game. Jesus Camargo earned his first save of the season going 3 1/3 inning and allowing 1ER. His ERA is 2.54 for the year.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 1 – Fort Wayne Tin Caps 9: There wasn’t much to cheer about in Fort Wayne Monday night as the Cubs offense was silenced and pitching was well below par in the 9-1 loss. Derek Casey was roughed up in his shortest outing of the season, lasting just three innings and allowing 6 ER.

Four of those runs allowed came right away in the first inning as the Tin Caps put the Cubs in a huge hole early. Grant Little opened the scoring with a double before coming home on the Dwanya Williams-Sutton double for the 2-0 lead. The Williams-Sutton Double proved to be the game-winner the Tin Caps were off and rolling. Justin Lopez capped off the first inning barrage with his fourth homer of the season putting the Cubs in a 4-0 hole after one.

South Bend managed to get one run back in the top of the second as they were hoping for much more. A leadoff single by Jonatan Sierra got the inning started as he continued his hot stretch of play. With a little bobble in the outfield, Sierra used his speed to take second putting himself in scoring position. Standing on third with two outs, Sierra was able to trot home as Levi Jordan made it a 4-1 game following his singe. Unfortunately, that would be all the South Bend offense could generate in this one as the Tin Caps were more than ready to cool them down.

A Xavier Edwards double in the third not only put Fort Wayne in front 6-1 but forced the Cubs to bring their bullpen in to open the fourth going to it much earlier than they would have liked. For the most part, they performed well, allowing just a Little RBI single in the sixth as their only blemish. That was until the eighth inning when an RBI single from Little and bases-loaded walk to Williams -Sutton ruined was going to be a dominating relief appearance sending the Cubs to the clubhouse with the 9-1 loss.

South Bend falls to 24-18 on the season but remains in an excellent position for the first half title. Sierra paced the Cubs offense with two hits while Nelson Velazquez, Tyler Durna, Jordan and Rafelin Lorenzo all added one hit each in the game. Cole Roederer saw his average slip to .217 following a hitless night at the plate.

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Tags: Ian Happ, Duane Underwood, Taylor Davis, Jacob Hannemann, Jim Adduci, James Norwood, Cory Abbott, Charcer Burks, Christian Donahue, Wyatt Short, Paul Richan, Kevonte Mitchell, Miguel Amaya, Luke Reynolds, Aramis Ademan, Cam Balego, Jesus Camargo, Derek Casey, Levi Jordan, Nelson Velazquez, Tyler Durna, Rafelin Lorenzo, Cole Roederer
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