Down on Cubs Farm: Velazquez leads SB, Emeralds double up Volcanoes, more

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by - Staff Writer -
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports
Patrick Gorski - USA Today Sports

With Iowa off and getting set for Ben Zobrist’s arrival, the Cubs still had four teams in action Wednesday as there was no shortage of games going on. Even with the farm going 2-2, it was overall a good night as a few new faces began to step up when called upon.

IOWA CUBS: Off travel day (Zobrist returns this weekend)

TENNESSEE SMOKIES 2 – Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp 4: Despite another fabulous start for Luis Lugo, going 5 2/3 innings and allowing 2ER, the Tennessee offense struggled to get things going as Jake Stinnett took the loss in relief 4-2. With the loss, the Smokies fall to 50-71 on the season.

Both runs Lugo allowed came in the second inning as one swing of the bat gave Jacksonville the early lead. With a man on, Stone Garrett ripped one over the left-field fence for his 12th homer of the season to give the Jumbo Shrimp the 2-0 lead. That score would hold up until the fourth inning when Vimael Machin ended a long homerless drought with his sixth of the season cutting things to 2-1.

Tennessee was able to draw even in the bottom of the sixth as Christian Donahue brought home a run with an RBI single to get Lugo off the hook for the loss. That tie game was short-lived as Jazz Chisholm took Stinnett deep in the seventh for his 21st of the season and 4-2 lead. The Smokies had an excellent opportunity to strike back in the eight after a leadoff Nico Hoerner double and a hit by a pitch but couldn’t do anything with that falling 4-2.

Hoerner appears to be heating up at the plate once again as he was responsible for the teams only multi-hit effort in the loss. Gisokar Amaya, Donahue, and Machin added the teams final three hits with Roberto Caro going 0-4. Oscar De La Cruz was exceptional in relief, closing out the last two innings for Tennessee with a trio of strikeouts.

MYRTLE BEACH PELICANS 0 – Potomac Nationals 7: Luck ran out for Myrtle Beach on Wednesday, as a six-run fifth inning proved to be too much to overcome in the 7-0 loss. Even with that loss bringing their record to 47-72, the Pelicans continue to hover around the .500 mark in the second half as they have played a much better brand of baseball.

Javier Assad got the start and was off to a dazzling start through four innings keeping the Nationals off the board. Then came the fifth inning where the wheels began to fall as Assad was charged for all six of those runs in the losing effort on the mound.

It was the long ball that bit Assad in that fifth inning with KJ Harrison opening the scoring with a solo shot for his eighth of the season. A few batters later it was time for Gilbert Lara to take Assad deep as third homer of the season pushed the Nationals lead to 4-0. An Aldrem Corredor sacrifice fly and Austin Davidson RBI single capped off the big fifth inning with the Nationals comfortably in front 6-0.

Davidson added an RBI groundout in the seventh inning to push the lead to 7-0 as the Pelicans were held to just three hits in the losing effort. Carlos Sepulveda, Cam Balego and Zac Taylor were responsible for those three hits as the Myrtle Beach offense was quiet throughout. Miguel Amaya was 0-2 on the night but managed to take 2BB. The combination of Chad Hockin, Erling Moreno, and Enrique De Los Rios were solid in relief allowing just 1ER in 3 2/3 innings. Hockin and De Los Rios both are sporting 1.74 eras.

SOUTH BEND CUBS 6 – Lake County Captains 1: For the Cubs to make the playoffs, they know they must get better on the road. What is better than beating a team you are battling for the playoffs with 6-1 to open a weekend series and improve to 65-54. Faustino Carrera (7-6) got back to his old self tossing 5 2/3 scoreless frames with 7K’s in the win. His ERA is 3.31 on the season.

The Cubs didn’t need a whole lot of offense in this one, but it was Darius Hill getting the party started in the first with his first South Bend homer of the season. That 1-0 score held up until the fourth inning when an error allowed the game-winning run to score to make it 2-0 South Bend. Nelson Velazquez benefitted from yet another mistake in the sixth inning as a potential double-play turned into a two-run throwing error and 4-0 Cubs lead.

The lone Captains run came in the bottom of the seventh when Clark Scolamiero went deep for his second shot of the season to make things a 4-1 game. Despite being at the plate for two of the Cubs four runs, Velazquez benefitted from a pair of errors until the eighth inning as his single capped off the scoring on the evening with the Cubs coming out on top 6-1.

The top of the order proved to be a solid force as both Hill, and Clayton Daniel recorded two hits each. Andy Weber, Nelson Maldonado, Velazquez, Jake Slaughter, and Gustavo Polanco tallied the other five hits. Velazquez led the way with four RBI’s in the win. Ivan Medina lowered his A ERA to 0.84 as he tossed a scoreless frame of relief.

EUGENE EMERALDS 4 – Salem-Keizer Volcanoes 2: Eugene has yet to get on that type of roll that helped them win the 2018 league title, but maybe Wednesday's win is a step in that direction. Against one of the better teams in the league, the Emeralds improved to 27-31 on the season as they managed to double up the Volcanoes 4-2.

Ryan Jensen got the call and dealt with an uncharacteristic lousy start. Despite walking five men in three innings, Jensen was able to limit the damage allowing just 1ER as his ERA sits at 2.25. The bullpen took over from there, allowing just 1ER on 1H over the final six innings to give the offense a chance at a win.

With Carter Aldrete giving the Volcanoes an early 1-0 lead in the first with a single, it was Eugene able to draw even in the bottom of the first as a wild pitch knotted the game 1-1. Salem was able to retake the lead in the top of the fifth inning when a wild pitch on strike three pushed across a run to make it 2-1. The Emeralds were able to draw even yet again in the bottom of that frame as Fernando Kelli’s single made it 2-2.

Tied 2-2 and heading to the later stages of the game, Eugene was looking for the key hit that would give them the win. Look no further than second-round selection Chase Strumpf who came through with the game-winning single to provide Eugene with their first lead of the day 3-2. Edmond Americaan stole home later that inning to extend the lead to 4-2 which ended up as the final.

Six different players connected for hits in the game with Grayson Byrd, Pedro Martinez, Jonathan Soto and Alexander Guerra joining Strumpf and Kelli in the hit category. The pitching is what stole the show in this one as the Emeralds allowed just two hits in the win. Jake Reindl allowed the second and final hit of the game in his two innings before Yunior Perez (w) and Chris Kachmar took over. Joe Nahas earned his first save of the season.

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Tags: Ben Zobrist, Luis Lugo, Jake Stinnett, Vimael Machin, Christian Donahue, Roberto Caro, Oscar De La Cruz, Javier Assad, Carlos Sepulveda, Cam Balego, Miguel Amaya, Erling Moreno, Faustino Carrera, Nelson Velazquez, Clayton Daniel, Andy Weber, Gustavo Polanco, Ivan Medina, Fernando Kelli, Alexander Guerra
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