Kevin Made – Picture by Todd Johnson

It was another busy day in the minors as there were five games on tap tonight with Tennessee still scrambling for a playoff spot..

Tennessee played a do or die game at 4:30 and they came out swinging the bats and swinging them well. Three homers in the first two innings got them out to a 4-0 lead. Haydn McGeary, Nelson Maldonado, and Jordan Nwogu all went yard. DJ Herz kept the lead through four innings as he gave up just three runs in four innings. Owen Caissie added a 2 run double while Zac Leigh and Danis Correa finished off the Blue Wahoos to win 6-4 and move within a game and a half of Chattanooga.

At that point, it became a game of hurry up and wait for game two to begin and to see how Chattanooga did in its game against Biloxi, which they were leading 2-1 in the third at the end of game 1 for the Smokies.

Shout Outs of the Day

I don’t usually give props to action in the DSL or ACL unless it is extraordinary. Today, OF Christian More went 4-for-5 in Mesa this afternoon. He also had a triple and 3 RBI. 

Transaction of the Day

I am excited about this one…really excited! I can’t wait to see him  on MiLB TV next week.

As for the Rest of the Birds…and The Reliever of the Day

Jackson Ferris was not efficient and only lasted 1.2 innings before hitting his 50 pitch limit. Luis Rujano was the man in relief. The 20-year-old 2022 draft pick got it done going 3.1 scoreless and hitless frames while striking out 5. It was 1-1 when the Pelicans executed a squeeze play to bring in Parker Chavers to make it 2-1. Rafael Morel homered in the ninth to make it 3-1 and basically give the Birds their first win in the second half.

Starting Pitcher of the Day

Connor Noland was a stud today and got in done in 6 innings striking out four and allowing just one run against Fort Wayne.

Cubs Get Some Timely Hits…

They turned into doubles machines to score their first three runs.

Kevin Made added a dinger in the sixth to make it 4-1 and that’s where it stayed.

In Iowa

Yonathan Perlaza erased a one run deficit with a 2-run double. Unfortunately, a Memphis homer in the 7th tied it up. Unfortunately, the Redbirds mounted a ninth inning rally to lead 5-2. A Slaughter homer and a Bryce Windham double made it 5-4. After a Perlaza fly out, it came down to Darius Hill. Hill came through with a single to score Windham to make it 5-5. And for the second night in a row, the I-Cubs walked it off as Jared Young cranked a two-run job to win 7-5 again! And with that win, the I-Cubs moved into first place.

Another Do or Die Game for the Smokies

Owen Caissie got things going in the first with an oppo taco.

Starting pitcher Carlos Guzman (yes, you read that right) gave up a run in the top of the second to make it 1-1. 

At this point I checked the score and Biloxi lead 4-3 in the top of the 6th. Then the Lookouts tied it in the sixth on a solo homer. At this point, a win for Chattanooga would clinch a first half title. Then again, I felt better when Biloxi scored three times in the sixth to take a 7-4 lead. Still, the Smokies would have to come back in just a few limited innings.

In the bottom of the fourth, the Smokies tied it up based on a Cole Roederer single. It was 2-2 at that point and Biloxi was pouring it on to make it 11-4 after 7. Tennessee just needed some runs and they had 3 innings to keep Pensacola at bay.

Samuel Reyes pitched out of trouble in the fifth and the Smokies had PCA coming up.

PCA walked to start off the inning. Then the stud showed up as Luis Vazquez homered to make it 4-2. That was quick!

Unfortunately, Pensacola came right back in the fifth and loaded the bases against the newly returned Scott Kobos. A walk then made it 4-3. After another Kobos walk to tie it at 4, Cayne Ueckert was called in. A single brought in 2 to make it 6-4 Pensacola. Ueckert eventually got out of it. Thankfully, the new Pensacola was technically not insurmountable. Could the Smokies pull off one for the ages?

PCA lead off the bottom of the seventh with a double. That was cool. He went to third on a sac fly by Vazquez. Owen Caissie came through with a clutch single to keep the rally alive. Zach Davis replaced Caissie as a pinch runner and then proceeded to steal second. After Haydn McGeary struck out, BJ Murray walked to bring up Cole Roederer. A double steal put runners at second and third. Oh, Man! This was tense!

Unfortunately, Cole struck out and thus ended the night.