Cade Horton – Picture by Todd Johnson

We are getting down to the nitty-gritty of the first half. After tonight there are just six games left, and every game seems to matter. For South Bend, they lost 6-5 in 12 innings, and are now 6.5 games back behind Cedar Rapids with six to play which eliminates the Cubs . Myrtle Beach won 7-3 over Fredericksburg.. With Chattanooga losing, the Smokies now have a half game lead as they beat Birmingham in extras to move into first.. As for Iowa, let’s just say the bats are back.

Before we get to the action of the day, there were three transactions made. Move number one was Matt Mervis and Jeremiah Estrada coming down to Iowa from Chicago. Move number two was that Alexander Canario began playing in rehab games out in Mesa. He was 0-for-2 with a walk when I finished writing today’s recap. Both of them were fly balls to center field.

And the third move was Cam Sanders was placed on the development list for Iowa. It’ll be interesting to see what he’s like when he comes back.

Let’s get to the games!

Hot! Hot! Hot!

That pretty much describes Myrtle Beach right now. Tonight they scored six runs in the first three innings as they increased their lead in the Carolina League South. Columbia lost so that expanded Myrtle Beach’s lead to three with 6 games to play. The birds magic number is now four. 

As for the prospects, Marino Santy pitched well. He went 4.2 innings with five strikeouts and allowed three hits and two walks. Unfortunately, he didn’t qualify for the win despite giving up two runs. That went to Koen Moreno, who only walked one guy in 3.1 innings. He gave up one run and struck out five and is improving ever so slightly from outing to outing. Yes, i love how the ball comes out of his hand. He is getting there.

As for the hitting, Moises, Ballesteros and Felix Stevens hit home runs along with Rafael Murrell. Reivaj Garcia, Ballesteros, and Morel all had two hits. Jefferson Rojas had two hits as well as a walk. He was on base three out of four times tonight. Rojas is hitting .385 with a 1.102 OPS after seven games in the Carolina League at 18 years old. In fact, in five of his seven games he’s had multiple hits.

Iowa’s Bats Come Back in a Big Way

After Indianapolis scored two in the top of the first off Caleb Kilian, the Iowa Cubs came back and scored six runs using a series of singles and a double to take a four run lead. They later added four more in the sixth as both Dom Nunez and Nelson Velasquez homered to give them a 10 to 5 lead. Indianapolis scored 3 more times as Iowa hung on to win 10 to 8

Hitter of the Day

Nelson Velazquez was the star of the day as he went 3-for-5 with a home run, a double, and three RBI.

Reliever of the Day

Daniel Palencia came in throwing gas and got to save for Iowa.

South Bend Eliminated

Despite Cade Horton striking out six and four innings, the South Bend Cubs struggled to get runs across again. It went to extra innings at three a piece and the Cubs scored one run in the 10th and another and the 11th but not in the 12th. Cedar Rapids did as the Kernels won 6-5. That extends their lead over South Bend to 6.5 games and eliminates the Cubs from a playoff spot. Ezequiel Pagán had three hits on the day. James Triantos was 2-for-2 with a walk before being lifted later in the game for an undisclosed reason. He was spotted in the dugout afterwards..

PCA is Ready Is Ready When Tennessee Clinches

Let’s just say that today was another exhibit about why Pete Crow-Armstrong is ready for Iowa. The Cubs number one prospect hit a grand slam home run in the second inning to give the Smokies a five to nothing lead. 

Unfortunately Jordan Wicks and the bullpen couldn’t hold the lead and the game went to extras. After a pitch clock violation against Luis Vazquez, he proceeded to hit a 2 run home run that proved to be the game winning RBI for the Smokies. Cole Roederer went 2-for-3 two with an RBI. He joined Hayden, McGeary and Vazquez as the only Cubs with multiple hits. 

Clutch Homer of the Day