Hayden Wesneski – Picture by Dylan Heuer/Iowa Cubs

With five games on tap, there is a lot to write about today.

The Opener…

The night began early as Tennessee started playing the first of two games. And it got the night going right in fashion. Kohl Franklin was on the mound for Tennessee and Pablo Aliendo opened up the scoring with a two run single in the second driving in Haydn McGeary and Bradlee Beesley. Aliendo and Jordan Nwogu would score later that inning on a 3-run jack by Andy Weber to make it 5-0. That would proved to be enough, just barely as the Smokies won 5-4. Franklin wound up going four innings and gave up 1 unearned run while striking out 2. That was the Smokies’ 13th win of the month against just 3 losses as they have won 11 out of their last 12.

In the Night Cap…

The Braves got on the board in the first inning of the seven inning game by getting to Chris Kachmar with just two singles. Kachmar would go on to pitch three innings and that was the only run he gave up as he struck out 5. Unfortunately, the offense could not get much going to begin the game. The Smokies did put men on second and third in the third but could not score. Back-to-back doubles in the bottom of the fifth by Scott McKeon and Bradlee Beesley tied up the game at 1.

In the bottom of the sixth, the Smokies did what they do best…..with two outs. Casey Opitz walked, then Scottie McKeon (again) tripled to drive him in. McKeon would later score on a wild pitch to make it 3-1. Bradlee Beesley, who got on after being plunked in the back of the head, also came around to score, again on a wild pitch. Same Reyes got the save for the smoking hot Smokies.

Dinger of the Day

In South Bend, the bats came alive quickly as they scored 5 runs in the second. The key to that rally was a grand slam by Ezequiel Pagan.

Michael Arias was on the one the mound for South Bend and he was rolling right along until the fourth when he gave up 3 runs, 2 of which were earned. He struck out seven, but the second time through the order for Arias was rough.

The Whitecaps closed the gap to one in the sixth on a 3-run homer to make it 7-6. However, Christian Franklin, who just got back from a stint in the ACL on a rehab assignment, cranked one out in the bottom of the inning to make it 8-6 Cubs. Then, West Michigan hit a HR in the seventh to pull within one again. And like a racquetball game, the Cubs got one back in the bottom of the inning after a James Triantos double, Moises Ballesteros drove in Triantos with a single. James Triantos later bumped it to three in the eighth with a single, too. Frankie Scalzo closed it out in the ninth for a 10-7 win.

3 Hit Club

Moises Ballesteros did it today…again! He went 3-for-4.

Bradlee Beesley went for 3-for-3 in game two of Tennessee’s doubleheader. He is the perfect leadoff guy. He is now hitting .293 at Double-A.

Starting Pitcher of the Day

In Iowa, Alexander Canario got the I-Cubs rolling with a 2-run single in the fourth inning. By that time, Hayden Wesneski had thrown four scoreless and struck out 8. He made it through the fifth just fine having thrown 70 pitches, 46 for strikes. The reason Wesneski had been sent back to Iowa was to stretch him out as a starter. Welp, he’s pretty close id not ready after tonight.

As for the rest of the game, Jeremiah Estrada, who’s been struggling this year, gave up a run in the sixth to make it 2-1. Estrada then shut down Indianapolis in the seventh and Riley Martin came on in the eighth. After a single and a two-run homer, Martin was ejected by the home plate umpire. Iowa put two men on the bottom of the ninth. Then Edwin Rios stepped up and did this to win it for Iowa at 5-3.

A Tough Night Again for the Birds

In Myrtle Beach, Columbia jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the top of the 3rd off starter Drew Gray. Those were the first runs scored off of Gray this month. That lead held for most of the game. Jose Romero was outstanding in relief for the Pelicans going 3.1 innings without a run and striking out four. In the eighth inning, the Pelicans loaded the bases with two outs when the game was delayed for the second time this week.

When the game resumed, a groundout ended the rally. Columbia added two more in the ninth to make it 4-0 and that was the game as the Pelicans lost their fourth in a row.

Pics of the Day – It Won’t Be Long Now

The draft picks are going through orientation this weekend and it won’t be long before they start playing in games that matter.