Down on the Cubs Farm: Winless night, Steele rocked, Smokies at .500, more

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

IOWA CUBS vs. New Orleans Baby Cakes: Postponed

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 3 – Jackson Generals 4: In search of his first win of the season, Justin Steele got the call in this trying to push the Smokies to a season-long winning streak. Unfortunately for him, that first win is going to have a little bit long as Steele lasted just 3 2/3 innings on the day giving up 4 ER to fall to (0-4) on the season. Michael Rucker and Jake Stinnett were impressive in relief allowing a total of one hit in 4 1/3 inning of relief.

The Smokies found themselves down by a pair of runs in the second as the Generals broke the scoreless tie. A Drew Ellis double put Jackson in front before Dominic Miroglio added to the lead with a single for the 2-0 advantage. A Jared Young double in the top of the third cut things to 2-1, but once again it was the Generals scored in the bottom half of the third on a Jeffrey Baez homer to take a 3-1 lead.

A fourth-inning single from Ben DeLuzio pushed the lead to 4-1 Jackson as the Generals were in complete control. That was the last of the Generals offense as the combination of Rucker and Stinnett in the bullpen did a great job of keeping things close giving the offense a chance to come back.

Down by three with just three outs to go, the Smokies started a rally in the ninth as they looked to steal one from Jackson. Jesse Hodges led things off with a single to get the inning started. After a force out erased him from the base paths, Connor Myers remained red hot with another double to make it a 4-2 game. A few pitches later it was Charcer Burks coming through with a single to cut things to 4-3, but consecutive outs from Roberto Caro and P.J. Higgins ended the come back bid with the Smokies falling 4-3.

The Smokies are back to .500 on the season with a 21-21 record. Myers led the way on offense as he was the only player with two hits. Seven other Smokies had one hit in the game as their four-game winning streak came to an end.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 1 – Lynchburg Hillcats 6: With Erling Moreno looking to continue his recent hot streak, the Hillcats had other plans Saturday as they dominated the game for a 6-1 win. Moreno didn’t pitch that bad as he allowed 3 ER in 4 innings of work, but it was the inability of Ryan Kellogg, and Manuel Rodriquez in relief were unable to keep things close allowing 3 ER combined in their four innings of relief.

It was the Pelicans who were able to score first as they grabbed a rare early lead in the second. With Tyler Payne on base, it was Aramis Ademan coming through with a double to put Myrtle Beach in front 1-0. Ademan is starting to garner national attention, making a name for himself as a future potential big leaguer. That early lead was short lived however as the Hillcats took the lead for good in the bottom of the second when Gavin Collins doubled home the tying run and Johnathan Laureano delivered the game-winning single for the 2-1 lead.

The Hillcats extended the lead to 3-1 in the fourth after Steven Kwan's sacrifice bunt before putting in some work against the Pelicans bullpen. During a three-inning stretch from the 6-8 innings, the Hillcats extended the lead to 6-1 scoring one run each frame. A Nolan Jones single and Jodd Carter homer contributor to the RBI’s, while a wild pitch brought home the other run in the 6-1 loss.

Myrtle Beach is 15-28 on the season as they continue to struggle for extended stretches. Payne had two hits in the ballgame, with three other players picking up one in the five-hit effort. Miguel Amaya was 1-4 in the loss.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 1 – Dayton Dragons 4: The streaking Cubs were finally cooled off as their long six-game winning streak came to an end following the 4-1 defeat. With Riley Thompson looking to continue his impressive start, it was the bats that struggled to get things going in a rare off night from Thompson. In just four innings, Thompson allowed all four runs in the game. However, his ERA is still a strong 2.73 despite a 2-2 record on the mound.

One of the keys for South Bend’s turnaround as of late has been their ability to score early an often. That was the case again on Saturday as they struck first in their first at-bats to grab the lead. Levi Jordan showed great patience in the opening at-bat to earn a leadoff walk. In danger of being stranded at first with two outs, an error allowed Jonathan Sierra to reach base extending the inning for Nelson Velazquez. He came through with a single up the middle to give the Cubs a 1-0 lead.

That lead was short lived as Brian Rey went deep for the first time in 2019 to tie the game up 1-1 in the second. With that score still intact heading into the fourth, the Dragons finally solved Cubs pitching as they took the lead for good. A Pabel Manzanero single and Jay Schuyler walk had something going for Dayton with two on and nobody out. Then, with one swing of the bat, Shard Munroe put the Dragons in front 4-1 connecting for his third homer of the season.

That was the last run of the ball game for the Dragons, but with just five hits in the game, South Bend wasn’t able to get much going offensively, falling to 23-17 on the season after the 4-1 loss.

Despite the loss, South Bend is still tied for first in the division and currently has the best overall record in the Midwest league with the first half coming to a close. Christopher Morel collected two hits in the game, with Velazquez, Tyler Durna and Levi Jordan adding the other three hits. Cole Roederer went 0-3 on the night but managed to earn two walks in the loss.

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Tags: Justin Steele, Michael Rucker, Jake Stinnett, Jared Young, Jesse Hodges, Connor Myers, Charcer Burks, Roberto Caro, Erling Moreno, Ryan Kellogg, Aramis Ademan, Miguel Amaya, Levi Jordan, Jonathan Sierra, Nelson Velazquez, Christopher Morel, Tyler Durna, Cole Roederer
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