Brian Kalmer – Picture by Larry Kave/Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Tonight was one of those nights I was looking forward to because of the starting pitching. Luis Rujano was starting for Myrtle Beach. Cade Horton got the ball for Tennessee. While Grant Kipp made his debut for the South Bend Cubs. And Jordan Wicks took the bump for Iowa.

In addition, we saw two prospects lists dropped today from Joe Doyle of Future Stars Series and one from MLB Pipeline, who also dropped their top 100 with 5 Cubs making that list! Yeah, that’ll do!

Tweet of the Day

Let’s get to the action!!!

Hitter of the Day

The night began in Myrtle Beach. I am pretty sure Brian Kalmer was born to hit baseballs. In his first two ABs tonight, he had 3 RBI and next thing you know, Myrtle Beach had a 6-1 lead. One of his two hits was a home run and he was not the only one as recent callup Johnathon Long also had one. Kalmer later added a sac fly to give himself four RBI on the night.

All the while, Luis Rujano was dealing.

The 20 year old went 4 innings tonight. He did give up a run in the top of the first and then settled down and got 5 Ks on the night. All of his Ks came in innings 2 through 4. That’s efficient! He did throw just 58 pitches, 36 for strikes.

He was followed up by Jose Romero, Angel Hernandez, and Starlyn Pichardo and they kept the Woodpeckers at bay as Myrtle Beach won 7-3.

Starting Pitcher of the Day

As for Grant Kipp, he had to wait through a rain delay before making his debut. He got a little run support in the first as Matt Shaw came home on a single by Moises Ballesteros. Shaw got on base via a triple. As for Kipp, his first inning was very good as he struck out two the three guys he faced in the frame.

Kipp was dealing afterwards. He went 4.2 innings and struck out 8 while giving up just one run before he ran into some trouble in the fifth. Yovanny Cruz ended the threat as he pitched 1.1 scoreless with 3 Ks.

South Bend added on later as they got homers from Matt Shaw, Luis Verdugo, and Moises Ballesteros. Shaw actually went 3-for-5 on the day with 3 RBI and he looks too advanced for this level already.

Feel Good Story of the Day

Derek Casey returned to action tonight after two years away. He pitched two innings with three Ks. He did not walk anyone nor did he allow a hit. Very impressive!

South Bend eventually won 9-1.

Trouble for Tennessee

As for Horton, his start was interesting. He got through the first just fine but gave up 3 singles in the second which resulted in an unearned run for Biloxi. In the fourth, he gave up two more. He made it through four innings but it was not a blistering start and he got zip for run support.

The offense did score three runs on a Casey Opitz homer but Biloxi kept pouring it on as the Shuckers won 8-4.

Wicks Improving with Experience

Jordan Wicks is getting better the longer he is at Iowa. Tonight, he got through five innings again and struck out five, which I like. At this level, getting a whiff an inning is almost essential. In total, he did give up a run, and only threw 73 innings. We are officially at the time of year where arms are being saved as prospects approach innings limits for the season. His career high is 92.1 IP and this year after tonight he is at 86.2 innings with 7 starts still left. which would put him at 120 innings, right about where he should be.

Unfortunately, Wicks got zero help from the offense that scored 20 runs the night before….until he left the game and the runs flowed. Luis Vazquez and Alexander Canario both had two-run singles in the top of the seventh to give the I-Cubs a 5-1 lead. Iowa added on 5 more runs via a 3-run jack from Miles Mastrobuoni and a 2-run Higgins double. The final score of 10-3 doesn’t really tell how close this game was for 6 frames.

I will be back in the morning with a look at 11th round pick Zyhir Hope.