It was time for the Cubs’ offensive prospects to step into the limelight as Eloy Jimenez and Yasiel Balaguert powered South Bend and Myrtle Beach respectively. In Tennessee, the bats of Jeimer Candelario and Billy McKinney awakened to join Chesny Young and Mark Zagunis.
Iowa resumed their west coast swing and saw Ryan Williams leave his start early with an apparent injury.
Today’s Down on the Farm Report provides more bang for your buck.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (22-16)
South Bend could not overcome a bad beginning on Wednesday as they lost to Great Lakes 5-4. Justin Steele remained an enigma as he allowed five runs (three earned) but struck out 10 in six innings. Kyle Miller and Scott Effross each tossed a scoreless inning.
A single by Andrew Ely (1-for-4 with an RBI) drove in Jesse Hodges (0-for-3) in the second inning, and base hits from Eloy Jimenez (4-for-5 with an RBI and a stolen base), Eddy Julio Martinez (1-for-4 with an RBI), and Matt Rose (1-for-5 with an RBI) added two more runs in the seventh. Donnie Dewees (1-for-4) singled and scored on a ground out in the ninth, but Rose popped out with the tying run at third to end the ballgame.
It was the bullpen failing South Bend in a Thursday afternoon game, as they lost to Great Lakes 5-3. The pitching spoiled a great effort by Eloy Jimenez (2-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI), who put the S-Cubs ahead by launching a two-run homer with Andrew Ely (2-for-4) aboard in the first inning. Jimenez added a solo shot in the fourth inning.
Starter Kyle Twomey pitched well as he gave up two runs (one earned) while striking out two in five innings. Casey Bloomquist was called on to save the bullpen and could not do his job, surrendering three earned runs in three innings.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (22-17)
A rainout on Tuesday meant a doubleheader on Wednesday, as Myrtle Beach simply did not have it in the opener, losing 9-5 to Winston-Salem. Zach Hedges was battered and gave up seven earned runs and pitched only 1.2 innings. James Pugliese relieved and allowed an earned run in 3.1 innings. Daury Torrez struck out four but yielded an earned run in two innings.
The Pelicans loaded the bases in the first inning on a double by Rashad Crawford (3-for-4 with a double and a stolen base), a single from Gleyber Torres (1-for-4), and a walk to Ian Happ (0-for-3). Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-4 with a home run and four RBI) then blasted a Grand Slam home run. Jeffrey Baez (2-for-4 with a stolen base) reached on a fielder’s choice in the fourth, stole second, and came home on a base hit from Danny Lockhart (3-for-3 with an RBI).
In game two, the Birds got a lead and held it as they defeated Winston-Salem 2-0. Rashad Crawford (2-for-3 with two doubles) doubled to lead off the game and scored on a throwing error. Danny Lockhart (1-for-3 with a home run) cracked a solo home run in the second inning.
Trevor Clifton is emerging as one of the top pitching prospects in the organization, as he fanned seven through 5.1 innings. Jose Rosario had three strikeouts in 1.2 innings to collect his fourth save.
The Pelicans hung on tight Thursday and were able to escape with a 4-3 victory over Winston-Salem. Manager Buddy Bailey squeezed everything he could out of starter Erick Leal as he allowed three earned runs over seven innings. Ryan McNeil pitched the eighth, and James Farris nailed it down with two strikeouts and his seventh save.
Myrtle Beach loaded the bases in the second, with singles by Charcer Burks (1-for-2 with an RBI) and Rashad Crawford (1-for-4 with an RBI) bringing in Jason Vosler (0-for-2) and Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4). Ian Happ (1-for-3) was on board in the fifth when Yasiel Balaguert (2-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) clubbed his seventh home run.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (19-22)
In a Wednesday matinee, Tennessee was blanked by Birmingham 5-0. The lone offense highlight was Mark Zagunis going 4-for-4 with a double. Brad Markey was stung by his defense, as he gave up five runs (two earned) with three strikeouts in seven innings. Josh Conway also struck out three in two innings.
Tennessee took on the team with the best record in the Southern League on Thursday and flattened them, beating Biloxi 7-2. Rob Zastryzny had a good night as he struck out eight and allowed two earned runs in 7.2 innings. Starling Peralta had two strikeouts in the final 1.1 innings.
The Smokies took the lead for good in the first inning as a ground out scored the rehabbing Matt Szczur (0-for-1) while a single from Billy McKinney (2-for-4 with a triple and two RBI) brought in Chesny Young (2-for-4). A five-run fifth started when a double by Mark Zagunis (1-for-4 with a double and two RBI) plated Young and Jacob Hannemann (0-for-2). A base hit from Jeimer Candelario (2-for-4 with a double and two RBI) drove in Zagunis, and a triple by McKinney scored Candelario, as McKinney also came home on an error during the play.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (18-20)
The Iowa Cubs were idle on Wednesday and resumed their west coast trip on Thursday night in Tacoma.
The I-Cubs dropped a close game to Tacoma, 2-1. The game was tied at one when Ryan Williams left the game with an apparent injury. Williams started the sixth inning but felt something after throwing a pitch and had to leave the game. Updates on Williams were not available during or after the game. Randy Wehofer would not speculate what happened to Williams that forced him out of the game.
Williams was in the middle of another good outing. He surrendered only one run, a solo homer by Mike Baxter in the second inning. Williams gave up six hits, no walks and struck out two in five-plus innings.
The I-Cubs could not figure out former teammate Donn Roach and managed only four hits. The lone run came off the bat of John Andreoli (2-for-4 with a home run), a solo homer in the third inning. Willson Contreras (0-for-4) did not reach base for one of the few times this season. Dan Vogelbach (1-for-3 with a walk) and Taylor Davis (1-for-4) had the other two hits.
C.J. Riefenhauser took the loss after giving up a run when he was called on to replace Williams.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs sent OF Matt Szczur to the Tennessee Smokies on a rehab assignment.
The Tennessee Smokies released INF Ryan Dent.
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