Down on the Farm: 1-3 record, Happ and Russell struggle, more

Down on the Farm: 1-3 record, Happ and Russell struggle, more

by - Senior Writer -

It was not a great evening for the Cubs organization as just one team managed to pick up a win. That win was South Bend as they had to fend off some late-inning drama to get the lone win and 1-3 record on the farm.

IOWA CUBS 1 – Nashville Sounds 2: The Cubs winning streak came to an end Friday night at the hands of the Sounds, but it certainly was not for the lack of pitching. Iowa took a bullpen approach to this game with starter Duncan Robinson lasting only one inning. Trevor Clifton lasted the longest of anyone at 3 1/3 inning as it was Brian Duensing who took the loss in the ninth.

Struggling to find offense in the first game, it was the Sounds jumping out to the quick lead as they got to Robinson early. Willie Calhoun drove a liner down the right field line that just cleared the fence for his fifth of the season and 1-0 Nashville lead. That would be all the offense for quite some time as both pitching staffs were on point.

Despite collecting just three hits in the ball game, the Cubs were able to make some of those count in the seventh. A leadoff single by Donnie Dewees got the inning started, before Ian Happ and Phillip Evans earned walks to load the bases with one down. Cristhian Adames continued to drive in runs with a sacrifice fly to the left, but Iowa was unable to add on settling for the 1-1 tie through seven.

Nashville got the last laugh as they looked to pull this one out off Duensing. It was the bat of Calhoun once again, this time with a double to score Carlos Tocci putting the Sounds up 2-1. Another Dewees single got the ninth inning started, but a strike him out throw him out double play between Addison Russell and Dewees ended the game with the Cubs falling 2-1.

Iowa still sits in first place at 13-8 despite that loss. Dewees picked up two of the teams three hits with Evans adding the other. Happ and Russell had rough nights at the plate. The two combined to go 0-7 with one walk and four strikeouts in the loss.

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 3 – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 6: For the first time all season, the Smokies find themselves in a rut and have not played great baseball lately. That continued again on Friday as the Jumbo Shrimp doubled up Tennessee 6-3.

Justin Steele took the ball and got rocked in his outing. Steele lasted just 1 1/3 inning on the hill and yielded five runs to put Tennessee in a huge hole. Despite that, it was the Smokies who opened the scoring first as Robel Garcia doubled home Charcer Burks for the quick 1-0 lead in the first. It was all downhill from there as Jacksonville ripped off six unanswered runs to follow.

Two of those runs came in the bottom of the first as the RBI ground out by Joe Dunand added with the Bryson Brigman RBI single gave the Jumbo Shrimp the lead for good at 2-1 after one. That lead continued to grow in the second as Jacksonville was off and running. A bases-loaded walk to Justin Twine plated another run before Dunand picked up a sacrifice fly which was followed by another Brigman single for the 5-1 lead. Twine added a fourth-inning single to cap off the Jacksonville scoring with a 6-1 lead through four.

With that score still intact, Tennessee came to bat in the ninth hoping to mount some rally. They did manage to make things briefly interesting as Jared Young led things off with a hit by pitch. Two batters later it was P.J. Higgins going deep for his third off the season bringing things to 6-3. A two-out single from Garcia was the last bit of hope before the Jumbo Shrimp closed things out 6-3.

With the loss, Tennessee has lost its hold on the top spot in the division and falls to .500 for the first time since opening weekend 10-10. Higgins and Garcia each picked up a pair of hits and were responsible for all three RBI’s as the Smokies tallied nine hits in total. They did however strikeout 13 times making it hard to sustain any rally. Nico Hoerner continues to recover from his hit by pitch dealing with minor wrist pain.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 5 – Salem Red Sox 7: The Pelicans continue to show much more heart than earlier this season, but it still hasn’t mattered much in the win column. That continued Friday as a three-run sixth proved to be the difference in the Red Sox 7-5 win.

It was the pitching combination of Paul Richan and Ryan Kellogg on the mound for the Pelicans. Richan was the one taking the loss as he surrendered six runs in 5 1/3 inning on the hill. Three of those runs came in the first two innings before the Pelicans could even settle in as a first-inning sacrifice fly from Pedro Castellanos gave the Red Sox a 1-0 lead before singles from Joseph Monge (first) and Marco Hernandez (second) put Salem in front 3-0.

Myrtle Beach responded with three runs of their own the next two innings bringing things even once again. Look no further than Miguel Amaya in the third as he cranked his fourth homer over the fence scoring Cam Balego to cut the lead to 3-2.

Yeiler Peguero tied things up in the fourth with his double, and just like that, it was a 3-3 game.

That tie was short lived as the Red Sox grabbed the lead for good in the bottom half of the fourth when Jarren Duran singled home the go-ahead run 4-3. The Red Sox officially put the game away in the sixth with some help from the Pelicans. With a wild pitch yielding the fifth run, it was Duran bringing home the winning run with a single before Castellanos reached on an error to bring home another run and 7-3 lead.

Myrtle Beach refused to quit and began to battle back in the eighth. With Kevonte Mitchell leading things off with a hit by a pitch, the Grant Fennell double put two runners in scoring position with one down. Now with two outs, it was Peguero coming through clearing the bases with a triple to cut the lead to 7-5. Myrtle Beach was unable to get any close as the Red Sox shut the door from there for the 7-5 win.

The Pelicans continue to occupy last in their division sporting a 7-15 record. Balego, Peguero, and Fannell all collected two hits, Peguero leading the way with three RBI’s. Amaya added a pair with his homer as that was his lone hit of the day raising his average to .233.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 7 – Fort Wayne Tin Caps 4: The lone win on the night for the Cubs farmhands came from South Bend as they outlasted the Tin Caps 7-4 to get back over the .500 mark.

With Faustino Carrera on the mound allowing just one run in his six innings of work, the Cubs backed him with early support using a big second inning to take control. The lone run allowed by Carrera came in the second inning as he uncorked a wild pitch to give the Tin Caps their lone lead 1-0. That lead was short-lived as South Bend opened things up in the third.

With the bases loaded following a pair of walks and a single and two outs, Jonathan Sierra showed great patience to earn another walk to tie the game 1-1. Christopher Morel delivered the big blow with a two-out two-run single before a wild pitch gave the Cubs a 4-1 lead through three innings of play. Tyler Durna added to that lead in the fifth as his double plated another run to give the Cubs a 5-1 lead.

Looking to deliver the final blow, South Bend continued their offensive attack in the seventh. A leadoff double by Nelson Velazquez aided by a Morel single had runners on the corners with one down. Morel would steal second to put himself in scoring position before Delvin Zinn ripped the two-out single up the middle to bring home two more for the 7-1 lead.

Down, but not out, the Tin Caps began to mount a late-game rally to keep things interesting. An Augustin Ruiz double in the eighth made things a 7-2 game, before consecutive bases-loaded walks to Jawuan Harris and Xavier Edwards in the ninth made it a 7-4 game with still no one out. Fortunately, Eugenio Palma was able to relive the wild Riley McCauley and managed to retire the next three hitters to strand the bases loaded and preserve the 7-4 win.

The Cubs continue to flirt with the .500 mark moving north of that mark at 11-10. Velazquez had the hot hand in this one collecting a team-high three hits, while Morel added a pair to go along with his two RBI’s. Zinn continued to pick up RBI’s collecting two more while Sierra and Durna each added one. Rafelin Lorenzo also added a pair of hits.

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