With the best record in the Midwest League, South Bend continued to blow away the competition thanks to Ian Rice and Eloy Jimenez. A scoring slump for Myrtle Beach ruined fine pitching by Jake Stinnett and Zach Hedges. Chesny Young and Bijan Rademacher remained steady for Tennessee. Meanwhile, Iowa benefitted from the awakened bats of John Andreoli and Matt Murton.
Wishing everyone a Happy Memorial Day, here is today’s Down on the Farm Report.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (31-17)
The South Bend Cubs broke a 2-2 tie in the seventh inning to hold on to a 4-2 win over Lansing on Friday. Lefty Ryan Kellogg had a quality start as he allowed two earned runs and fanned eight in six innings. Casey Bloomquist went the rest of the way, tossing three perfect innings and striking out three, to pick up his third victory.
It was a big night for first baseman Tyler Alamo (2-for-3 with a double and three RBI), whose single in the first brought in Ian Rice (2-for-3 with a double). A base hit by Eloy Jimenez (2-for-4 with an RBI) scored P.J. Higgins (0-for-2) earlier. Alamo delivered a two-out double in the seventh to drive in Donnie Dewees (0-for-4 with a stolen base) and Rice.
With a score more reminiscent of football than baseball, South Bend flattened Lansing 17-3 on Saturday. A six-run fifth inning was highlighted by a three-run homer from Ian Rice (3-for-4 with a double, a home run and five RBI) with Tyler Alamo (1-for-5 with two RBI) and Eddy Julio Martinez (1-for-2) scoring. Daniel Spingola (3-for-5 with a double and two RBI) and Eloy Jimenez (2-for-5 with two RBI) each drove in two runs, while Andrew Ely (3-fof-5 with a double and an RBI) and Sutton Whiting (3-for-5 with an RBI) had three-hit games.
Preston Morrison actually let the Lugnuts tie the game as he allowed three earned runs and struck out six in five innings. In his first action, Pedro Araujo fanned three in two perfect innings. Kyle Miller and James Norwood each pitched in a scoreless inning.
In a polar opposite as the day before, South Bend used a walk-off to defeat Lansing on Sunday 1-0. Carson Sands is really beginning to turn things up, as he blanked the Lugnuts for six innings and had five strikeouts. Craig Brooks added three strikeouts in two innings, while Scott Effross tossed a perfect inning.
The first batter of the bottom of the ninth, Eloy Jimenez (1-for-4 with a home run), sent the home fans home happy by cranking a solo home run.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (26-23)
The bats went cold again for Myrtle Beach on Friday as they lost to Wilmington 3-1. The offense failed to support the fine pitching of Jake Stinnett, who allowed three runs (two earned) and struck out four in seven innings. Daury Torrez added two strikeouts in two perfect innings.
A rainout on Saturday meant a doubleheader on Sunday, with Myrtle Beach dropping the opener 8-4 to Wilmington. Jonathan Martinez was not at his best as he allowed five earned runs in five innings. Tommy Thorpe gave up another three earned runs in two innings.
Gioskar Amaya (1-for-4 with a double) doubled and scored on a fielder’s choice in the second inning. Trey Martin (2-for-3 with a double, two RBI and a stolen base) had a two-run base hit in the fourth inning to bring in Danny Lockhart (0-for-1) and Jeffrey Baez (1-for-2 with an RBI). Martin later scored on an error.
The nightcap wasn’t any better for the Pelicans as Myrtle Beach lost to Wilmington 3-1 in 10 innings. Zach Hedges was masterful as he gave up only an unearned run with three strikeouts in seven innings. Manager Buddy Bailey pushed reliever James Farris a little too far. Farris gave up two earned runs in the 10th after tossing three innings. The lone run came in the fourth after Ian Happ (1-for-4) singled and scored on an error.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (22-27)
On Friday, Tennessee battled for 11 innings but lost to Chattanooga 6-5. Paul Blackburn had an uncharacteristic bad outing as he gave up five earned runs in five innings. Starling Peralta and Josh Conway each had two strikeouts and each pitched two scoreless innings. Miguel Mejia surrendered the game winning run as he worked the final 1.2 innings.
A Stephen Bruno (1-for-5 with an RBI) single brought in Jeimer Candelario (2-for-5 with an RBI) for the first run of the game in the second inning, and Billy McKinney (2-for-3 with a double and an RBI) scored on a ground out in the fourth. A base hit by Candelario scored Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5) and a double from McKinney plated Mark Zagunis (1-for-4) and added two more runs in the fifth inning. The Smokies tied the game in the eighth when Carlos Penalver (1-for-5) scored on a single by Chesny Young (3-for-6 with an RBI).
In a game in which both teams had seven hits, Tennessee failed to capitalize as the Smokies lost 3-2 to Chattanooga on Saturday. Billy McKinney (1-for-4), Bijan Rademacher (1-for-3), and Ben Carhart (1-for-3) loaded the bases with no outs in the fifth, but a double-play scored McKinney and wiped out the threat. Mark Zagunis (1-for-3 with a home run) belted a solo home run in the sixth inning.
On Sunday, the Smokies pounded out 13 hits as Tennessee ran-roughshod over Chattanooga 5-1. Bijan Rademacher (1-for-4 with a home run) and Cael Brockmeyer (1-for-4 with a home run) had solo home runs in the second and fifth innings. Mark Zagunis (3-for-4 with two RBI) scored on a sacrifice fly in the sixth. Zagunis had a base hit with the sacks jammed in the ninth to bring in Kelly Dugan (1-for-4) and Jacob Hannemann (2-for-5).
Brad Markey continues to amaze as he brought his ERA down to 2.52 by allowing an earned run in six innings. David Berg, Juan Paniagua, and Corey Black each had a strikeout as each tossed a scoreless inning.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (22-26)
After being tied in the top of the seventh inning, Iowa broke things open and defeated Albuquerque 6-1 on Friday. David Bote (1-for-4 with a home run and two RBI) broke the deadlock with a leadoff solo home run. Willson Contreras (1-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) delivered a two-run shot with Arismendy Alcantara (1-for-5 with two stolen bases) on base. A double by Matt Murton (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI) also brought in Juan Perez (0-for-4). Murton scored on an error to put the I-Cubs on the board in the second, and Kris Negron (0-for-3) came home on a wild pitch in the eighth inning.
Drew Rucinski picked Friday to have a good night. Rucinski flirted with a perfect game and ended up striking out four and allowing an earned run in eight innings. Spencer Patton tossed a perfect ninth inning.
It took 11 innings on Saturday, but Iowa finally prevailed over Albuquerque 4-3. Down 3-0, the I-Cubs struck back with a John Andreoli (2-for-4 with a home run and a stolen base) solo home run in the third inning. A double from Willson Contreras (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) scored Andreoli in the sixth inning. Logan Watkins (3-for-5 with a double and a triple) tripled and came home on a single by David Bote (2-for-4 with an RBI) in the seventh. Four straight base hits by Matt Murton (1-for-5), Watkins, Bote, and pinch-hitter Juan Perez (1-for-1 with an RBI) gave Iowa the game in the 11th.
Michael Wagner with brought up for a bullpen day as he allowed three runs (one earned) and had two strikeouts in 4.2 innings. Jean Machi contributed 2.1 innings, while Giovanni Soto and Spencer Patton each pitched an inning. Armando Rivero struck out four as he tossed two innings for the victory.
A four-run eighth inning was the key to a 6-4 victory for Iowa over Albuquerque on Sunday. Base hits by John Andreoli (2-for-4), Munenori Kawasaki (1-for-4), and Matt Murton (3-for-4 with an RBI) brought in the first run of the eighth, with a ground out and a passed ball scoring two more. A single by Logan Watkins (1-for-3 with an RBI) scored Juan Perez (0-for-4 with an RBI).
Rob Zastryzny pitched like himself in his second Triple-A start, allowing three earned runs and striking out four in five innings. Brandon Gomes had three strikeouts in two scoreless innings. Gerardo Concepcion gave up an earned run but fanned two in the final two innings.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned C/1B David Freitas to the Iowa Cubs from the Tennessee Smokies; assigned RHP Michael Wagner to the Myrtle Beach Pelicans from the Iowa Cubs; assigned RHP Pedro Araujo to the South Bend Cubs from extended spring training; assigned LHP C.J. Riefenhauser to the Eugene Emeralds from the Iowa Cubs.
The Iowa Cubs placed C/INF Taylor Davis on the 7-day disabled list. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans activated C Erick Castillo from the 7-day disabled list. The South Bend Cubs placed LHP John Williamson on the 7-day disabled list.