Whether in the playoffs or not, all the affiliates seem to be fighting for something as the regular season draws to a close this evening. John Andreoli is searching for a stolen base championship for Iowa, and Tennessee’s Chesny Young is looking to secure his second straight batting crown. Yasiel Balaguert has already set a team record for RBI in Myrtle Beach, and Eugene’s Wladimir Galindo can tie or take the lead in the Northwest League for home runs.
Meanwhile, South Bend has gotten back on the winning track thanks to P.J. Higgins.
So strap yourself in, as the regular season is ready to end the postseason ready to begin in the Down on the Farm Report.
Short Season Class-A – Eugene Emeralds (54-21)
The pitching staff for Eugene took care of things on Thursday night as they beat Tri-City 4-0. Pedro Silverio had his best outing of the year as he struck out seven and allowed only a walk and a hit in five innings. Dakota Mekkes had two strikeouts in two perfect innings, and Michael Rucker fanned five in two scoreless innings.
In an unusual event, both Trent Giambrone (0-for-2) and Tyler Payne (1-for-2) scored on a sacrifice fly in the second inning. Yeiler Peguero (1-for-3 with an RBI and a stolen base) singled in Robert Garcia (2-for-4) in the third, and Giambrone came home on a wild pitch in the fourth inning.
It was another overwhelming performance from the pitching staff for the Emeralds on Friday as they blew past Tri-City 9-3. Bryan Hudson had a great night, allowing two hits and a walk while striking out seven in five innings. Alex Santana picked up three strikeouts as he allowed an earned run in two innings. M.T. Minacci gave up two earned runs in two innings.
The game was out of reach by the fifth inning after D.J. Wilson set the table by going 3-for-5 with an RBI and his 21st stolen base, while Tyler Payne was 1-for-2 with three RBI. Yeiler Peguero (2-for-5 with an RBI) and Robert Garcia (2-for-4 with an RBI) had multi-hit games and Zack Short (0-for-2 with an RBI and a stolen base) drove in a run.
On Saturday, the Ems lost their bid to tie league history as the Emeralds bowed to Hillsboro 1-0. Eugene could have tied a league record for wins by sweeping the Hops but could not get their offense going. Erling Moreno limited Hillsboro to two hits as he allowed an earned run and struck out four in five innings. Michael Knighton tossed an inning and Tyler Peitzmeier followed with two scoreless innings. Eugene collected five hits. Wladimir Galindo was 2-for-3 while D.J. Wilson, Yeiler Peguero, and Trent Giambrone were each 1-for-4.
There were no miracle comebacks for Eugene on Sunday as the Emeralds lost 7-6 to Hillsboro. Tyson Miller was handled a little roughly by the Hops as he allowed three earned runs and struck out two in four innings. Marc Huberman did not fare any better as he gave up two earned runs in two innings. Andin Diaz yielded an earned run in an inning of work. Wyatt Short tossed a perfect inning, but Jed Carter surrendered an unearned run in 0.1 innings.
Wladimir Galindo (2-for-5 with a double, a home run and two RBI) is now within one of tying for the league lead in home runs as he clubbed a two-run shot with Chris Pieters (0-for-5) on base. A single by Zack Short (2-for-4 with a double and four RBI) drove in Marcus Mastrobuoni (1-for-3) and Kevonte Mitchell (1-for-4 with a stolen base) in the fourth inning. Short doubled home Jose Gonzalez (1-for-3) and Robert Garcia (0-for-4) in the ninth.
Low Class-A – South Bend Cubs (83-55)
On Friday, South Bend squandered a good pitching performance as they lost 3-0 to West Michigan. Adbert Alzolay was in control, scattering three hits and striking out three in five scoreless innings. Tanner Griggs remained inconsistent, giving up three earned runs in two innings. Mark Malave tossed another scoreless inning of relief. Matt Rose led the offense by going 3-for-4 with a stolen base, while P.J. Higgins was 2-for-4 with a stolen base. Eddy Julio Martinez (1-for-4) and Vimael Machin (1-for-4 with a stolen base) also had hits.
South Bend may have gotten the tonic they needed to finish out the season strong in overcoming Dayton 7-4. After spotting the Dragons two runs in the first, Tyler Alamo (2-for-5 with a home run and two RBI) cut the lead in half with a solo home run. Adonis Paula (1-for-5 with a double) scored on a wild pitch and P.J. Higgins (2-for-4 with two RBI and a stolen base) singled in Roberto Caro (1-for-3) in the second inning. A squeeze by Higgins in the fourth inning brought in Connor Myers (3-for-4 with a double). A two-run homer by Matt Rose (1-for-2 with a home run and two RBI) with Myers on base and a base hit by Alamo driving in Eddy Julio Martinez (1-for-5 with a stolen base) added three runs in the eighth inning.
Casey Bloomquist had trouble establishing the strike zone as he allowed two earned runs and struck out three in four innings. John Williamson did some heavy lifting as he gave up an earned run and had three strikeouts in three innings. Jared Cheek also struck out three and yielded an earned run as he pitched two innings.
The South Bend Cubs saved their offense for the late innings on Sunday as they beat Dayton 3-2. Eddy Julio Martinez (0-for-2) walked and scored on a sacrifice fly in the seventh to cut into the lead. A base hit by P.J. Higgins (2-for-4 with two RBI) in the eighth drove in Carlos Sepulveda (2-for-3) and Connor Myers (0-for-3 with a stolen base) with the tying and go-ahead runs.
Justin Steele kept the SB Cubs in the game by allowing two runs (one earned) and striking out five in six innings. Pedro Araujo struck out another three batters in two innings. South Bend saw the good Dillon Maples as he recorded a strikeout in a perfect inning for his ninth save.
High Class–A – Myrtle Beach Pelicans (82-56)
Myrtle Beach made the most out of their chances on Friday as the Pelicans defeated Potomac 2-1. The Birds tied the game in the sixth after Andrew Ely (1-for-3 with an RBI) singled in Yasiel Balaguert (1-for-3 with a triple). Ian Rice (1-for-3 with a double) came home on a sacrifice fly in the eighth inning.
Duane Underwood Jr. continued his rehab with his first start for the Pelicans as he allowed an earned run and struck out two in 4.2 innings. James Norwood also had two strikeouts as he pitched 2.1 innings. Daury Torrez tossed a scoreless inning, and Ryan McNeil fanned two in a perfect inning for his 22nd save.
It took 14 innings and 14 hits on Saturday for the Pelicans to secure the second half title as the Birds beat Potomac 5-4. Myrtle Beach jumped out to an early lead after David Bote (2-for-7 with a home run and three RBI) launched a three-run homer with Charcer Burks (1-for-6) and Donnie Dewees (2-for-7 with an RBI and a stolen base) on base in the first inning. Bote scored on a passed ball in the sixth inning. A base hit by Dewees drove in Tyler Pearson (2-for-2) with the go-ahead run in the 14th.
Erick Leal continues to be stretched out after a long stint on the DL, as he allowed four earned runs in four innings. Tommy Thorpe struck out four in three innings, and Tommy Nance followed with three strikeouts in three innings. Daniel Lewis worked around four walks and three hits in 2.1 innings, Scott Effross tossed 1.2 scoreless innings for the win.
The Pelicans didn’t rest on their laurels on Sunday as Myrtle Beach put a whipping on Potomac 11-4. Yasiel Balaguert set a team record for RBI in a season with 96 as he went 4-for-5 with a double, a home run and four RBI. Charcer Burks and Donnie Dewees were each 3-for-6 with a double and an RBI. Daniel Spingola (2-for-4 with a double and three RBI) was the only other player with multiple hits and RBI, while David Bote (1-for-6 with a double and an RBI) and Andrew Ely (0-for-4 with an RBI) drove in runs.
James Pugliese had a slight letdown from his defense as he allowed four runs (two earned) and struck out three in 5.2 innings. Daury Torrez has really come on in the past few weeks, striking out three in two scoreless innings. Ryan McNeil fanned two in 1.1 innings.
Double-A – Tennessee Smokies (58-80)
A dismal season is winding down as Tennessee was doubled up by Montgomery 10-5 on Friday. Jen-Ho Tseng has fallen apart down the stretch as he allowed seven earned runs and struck out three in five innings. R.J. Alvarez fanned five, but gave up two earned runs in two innings. David Berg was charged with an unearned run in the eighth.
The Smokies actually grabbed the lead in the second inning on solo home runs from Ian Happ (3-for-4 with two home runs and three RBI) and Ben Carhart (1-for-4 with a home run and an RBI). The game was out of reach by the seventh when Happ homered for the second time. Happ singled in Chesny Young (0-for-5) in the eighth inning. Jason Vosler (0-for-3 with an RBI) drew a bases loaded walk to force in Kelly Dugan (0-for-3).
The Smokies tied the game in the ninth on Saturday but ended up losing 3-2 to Montgomery. Tyler Skulina ended a very poor season with one of his best efforts, allowing two runs (one earned) while striking out five in seven innings. Starling Peralta committed an error which led to the winning run as he pitched an inning and to two batters in the ninth.
Kelly Dugan (1-for-4 with a home run) cut the lead in half in the seventh inning with a solo home run. Ian Happ (1-for-4 with a stolen base) scored on a sacrifice fly in the ninth to tie the game.
Tennessee has not gone quietly into that good night as the Smokies destroyed Montgomery 12-4 on Sunday. Chesny Young now has a five point lead for the Southern League batting crown as he was 3-for-6 with a double and two RBI. Kelly Dugan (3-for-5 with a double and two RBI), Stephen Bruno (3-for-5), and Daniel Lockhart (3-for-5 with two doubles and three RBI) each had three hits while Jason Vosler (2-for-4 for with a double and an RBI) also had a multi-hit game. Ben Carhart (1-for-3 with a double and two RBI) drove in two runs.
Michael Wagner was serviceable as he allowed three earned runs and had two strikeouts in 3.1 innings. Stephen Perakslis struck out two and gave up an earned run in 3.2 innings. Juan Paniagua had two strikeouts as he and James Farris each tossed a scoreless inning.
Triple-A – Iowa Cubs (66-76)
Iowa chose to go with a “bullpen day” on Friday and escaped with a 3-2 win over Colorado Springs. Joe Thatcher drew the start and tossed a scoreless inning. Miguel Mejia had three strikeouts in two innings. Pierce Johnson also fanned three in three innings, as did Brian Matusz in two innings. Jose Rosario earned his fifth save despite giving up two earned runs in the ninth.
A two run home run by Juan Perez (1-for-3 with a home run and two RBI) with Jeimer Candelario (1-for-2) aboard in the second inning would be the key blow in the game. Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-4 with a double and an RBI) padded the lead in the seventh by doubling in John Andreoli (2-for-5 with a double and a stolen base).
The I-Cubs found the winning combination on Saturday night in beating Colorado Springs 5-1. Jeimer Candelario (3-for-4 with a double and an RBI) has been on a tear as he scored on a single by Taylor Davis (1-for-3 with an RBI). Juan Perez (1-for-4 with an RBI and a stolen base) stole home in the second inning. John Andreoli (1-for-4 with a stolen base) came home on a sacrifice fly. Candelario doubled in Lane Adams (1-for-4 with a stolen base) and scored on a base hit from Perez.
Josh Collmenter was impressive in five innings, as he allowed an earned run and struck out three batters. Armando Rivero added three strikeouts in 2.1 innings, with Corey Black striking out two in 1.1 innings.
It was an identical score on Sunday as Iowa defeated Colorado Springs 5-1. A sacrifice fly brought in John Andreoli (1-for-2 with a double, an RBI and two stolen bases) and Bijan Rademacher (2-for-4 with a double and an RBI) doubled in Logan Watkins (1-for-5) in the first inning. Drew Rucinski (1-for-3 with a triple and an RBI) tripled in Taylor Davis (0-for-1) in the second. A double by Andreoli drove in Munenori Kawasaki (2-for-4) in the fourth inning. Albert Almora Jr. (1-for-5 with a double) scored on a fielding error in the fifth.
Drew Rucinski saved his best for last as he struck out eight batters and allowed an earned run in 7.2 innings. Joe Thatcher retired the only batter he faced, and Spencer Patton had two strikeouts in a perfect inning.
News and Notes
The Chicago Cubs assigned INF Isaac Paredes to the South Bend Cubs from the AZL Cubs.
The Iowa Cubs placed RHP Miguel Mejia on the temporarily inactive list. The Myrtle Beach Pelicans placed RHP Daniel Lewis on the temporarily inactive list; activated RHP Craig Brooks from the 7-day disabled list. The South Bend Cubs placed INF Andruw Monasterio on the 7-day disabled list.