Down on the Farm: 1-2 record, Ian Happ impresses, Marquez throwing 98 MPH, more

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by - Correspondent -
Jake Roth - USA Today Sports
Jake Roth - USA Today Sports

For the second consecutive night, things down on the farm didn’t go as planned despite three very well played contests on the evening. It was the South Bend Cubs managing to pick up the lone win on the evening as the minor leaguers went 1-2 on the night.

IOWA CUBS 3 – New Orleans Baby Cakes 4: After spending five games on the road in which the Cubs went 4-1, it was at last time for the home opener with Iowa looking to stay hot with some home cooking. It appeared that was going to be the case most of the game, but a mid-inning rally by the Baby Cakes put an end to that handing Iowa the 4-3 defeat.

With Jon Lester now injured in Chicago, Iowa will certainly be a team to watch in terms of what they do for starting pitching in the coming days as they may have to send someone west to Wrigley. Duncan Robinson is continuing to show he may be one of those options going six strong innings to allow two earned runs on five hits with four punchouts. Unfortunately, command issues from Dillon Maples once again derailed that performance as he took the loss while Dakota Mekkes continues to look strong in the late innings.

With Phillip Evans staying hot and giving the Cubs an early 1-0 lead after one, New Orleans wasted no time tying things up in the second as Bryan Holaday doubled home Gabriel Guerrero and it looked like a back and forth game was coming.

After both offenses stalled for a few innings, Iowa retook the lead in the fifth when Ian Happ doubled home Trent Giambrone for the 2-1 lead. That lead was short lived when Austin Dean matched Happ with an RBI double of his own to tie things back up 2-2 before Harold Ramirez gave New Orleans a 3-2 lead heading the bottom of the sixth.

Not to be outdone, the Iowa bats continued to chip away and were looking to retake the lead in their half of the sixth. Johnny Field wasted no time setting the Iowa offense up with a leadoff double. Taylor Davis followed that up with a sacrifice bunt, but a throwing error by the pitcher not only allowed Davis to advance to second but Field to score to bring things back to even 3-3.

Hoping to add on, the Iowa bats were stymied the rest of that inning wasting a golden chance to take the lead. That certainly proved to be costly as Isan Diaz reached on a seventh-inning fielding error to once again put New Orleans in front 4-3. Down to their final at-bats of the game, Happ was able to reach base with a one-out walk, but couldn’t advance from first as Iowa falls 4-3 and drops to 4-2 on the season.

Happ may be hitting one of his hot streaks as his average has now climbed up to .259 on the young season. That was helped by another strong effort in this game going 2-4 with an RBI, walk and most importantly no strikeouts. Although not collecting a hit, Dixon Machado reached base three times on three walks as his average remains at .462.


TENNESSEE SMOKIES: Off Night.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 4 – Down East Wood Ducks 5: The best way to get out of a slump, is to keep going at it in hopes your luck will change. That is exactly what the Pelicans find themselves in at the moment, as despite many competitive performances early on the wins have been hard to come by. Last night was another prime example as they dropped their third straight contest 5-4.

Luis Lugo certainly is not to blame as his performance on the mound deserved a better result. In his five innings, Lugo kept the Down East bats at bay allowing one run on five hits, one walk and six punchouts leaving with a 3-1 lead. A seventh-inning meltdown from the pen handed the Wood Ducks the 5-4 victory.

It took a while for both teams to get going offensively as pitching was strong early. The Wood Ducks struck first in the third when Lugo uncorked a wild pitch to give Down East a 1-0 advantage. Looking to break through on the scoreboard, it wasn’t until the fifth inning when the Myrtle Beach bats began to come to life.

Starting with a D.J. Wilson RBI double in the fifth, the Pelicans busted out for four runs in the next three frames to take command of the contest.


A two-run single by Aramis Adelman in the sixth and a Kevonte Mitchell single in the seventh gave the Pelicans a 4-1 lead as the bullpen looked to hold down the fort. Unfortunately, that was exactly what the Wood Ducks would need as they made the Myrtle Beach bullpen pay.

A string of hits and command issues had Down East in business before an RBI triple from Eric Jenkins cut things to 4-3. With two runners in scoring position and the pressure still on it was Anderson Tejada delivering the final blow as his single proved to be the difference in the Wood Ducks 5-4 win. The Pelicans had a chance in the ninth to take the lead with two consecutive walks, but three straight outs to end the game sealed their fate.

With the loss, the Pelicans now stand at 1-5 and have dropped three-straight games. Top prospect Miguel Amaya was 1-4 with a walk and a strikeout but stranded six men on base for the game.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 6 – Great Lakes Loons 1: Looking to put an end to their three-game losing streak, the Cubs turned to Brailyn Marquez to put a stop to things on the hill. He did just that throwing 3 2/3 innings of shutout baseball touching 98 MPH before turning things over to Jeffrey Passantino who picked up the win and Riley McCauley. Marquez was on a 60-pitch limit on the evening and had seven strikeouts out of the 15 batters he faced. The three of them were lights out on the mound surrendering just one run on four hits and walking just two hitters. The trio also combined to punch out 13 hitters in a completely dominating effort.

South Bend wasted no time getting the offense going as they took the lead in the first and never looked back. With runners on the corners, Levi Jordan caught the Loons off guard with a suicide squeeze bringing home the games first run while advancing to second on an error. Nelson Velazquez followed that up with a single and just like that it was a 2-0 game.

After a third-inning pitch gave South Bend a 3-0 lead, the Loons finally got on the board in the bottom half of the sixth inning. Romer Cuadrado singled home Niko Hulsizer cutting things to 3-1, but that was as close as things would get. Looking to not only add some insurance runs but to also deliver the knockout punch, the Cubs wasted no time in their half of the seventh.

Already with the bases loaded keeping the pressure on the Loons, Eric Gonzalez kept the line moving as his single made things 4-1. Jordan followed that up with his second RBI single before Andy Weber picked up an RBI groundout to cap the scoring in the South Bend 6-1 win. With the win, the Cubs crawl back to .500 with a 3-3 mark.


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