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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: April 18

The Pelicans sweep a doubleheader and Albert Almora leads to Smokies to victory. South Bend blows one late.

Sue Skowronski

I spent Saturday night with my family. I'm entitled to do that every once in a while. Otherwise, they'll kick me out and I won't have access to wi-fi and I won't be able to watch minor league games.

By the way, Duane Underwood now wants to be known as Duane Underwood Jr.

And I've got to say, this year's Pelicans team reminds me a lot of last season's Kane County Cougars team that went 98-49, including the postseason. Unfortunately, this year's South Bend Cubs remind me a lot of last season's Boise Hawks in their inconsistency.

With Bryant and Soler in the majors and Russell clearly inheriting the Cubs number one prospect status, a couple of guys laid a claim to be the second-ranked prospect in the system. And no, I'm not referring to Anthony Giansanti's social media campaign.

Iowa Cubs

The I-Cubs were rained out. They'll play a doubleheader against the Dodgers Monday afternoon, starting at 12:08 Central.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies reeled in the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds), 7-1.

Felix Peña started and cruised to his first win of the season. Peña pitched six innings and allowed one run on four hits. He struck out six and walked two.

Fernando Cruz pitched the final three innings without allowing a run for the three-innings save. Cruz surrendered one hit and two walks. He struck out four.

Center fielder Albert Almora had a huge night tonight, going 5 for 5 with a double and a stolen base. He had one RBI and scored once.

Willson Contreras hit a three-run pinch-hit home run in the sixth inning, his first blast of the season.

Shortstop Elliot Soto had a good night, going 3 for 5 and scoring twice. The aforementioned Giansanti singled and scored on the Contreras home run.

The Smokies are 6-3 on the young season and are tied for first place in their division with Chattanooga.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans took both ends of a doubleheader from the Winston-Salem Dash (White Sox), 4-1 and 8-4.

In the first game, Duane Underwood Jr. had a no-hitter going through six innings. In fact, a first-inning walk was the only baserunner he allowed and he was erased in a double play, so Underwood faced the minimum through six. He started the seventh inning and allowed singles to the first two batters he faced, after which he was removed for Starling Peralta. Underwood Jr.'s final line was 6+ innings, allowing one run on two hits. He struck out four and walked one.

Peralta got his first save of the season. He walked the first batter he faced to load the bases and bring the tying run to the plate, but an RBI ground out and a line-out double play ended the game.

Left fielder Shawon Dunston Jr. was the big bat for the Pelicans in game one. He went 2 for 3 with a triple as a part of a three-run fourth inning. Dunston scored twice and stole a base.

Paul Blackburn started and won game two. Blackburn gave up four runs on seven hits over five innings. One of the runs was unearned. Blackburn struck out four and walked one.

Josh Conway pitched two perfect innings for his first career save. He struck out one.

Catcher Ben Carhart hit what was only Myrtle Beach's second home run of the season in the fourth inning. It was his first of the year and came with the bases empty. Carhart was 1 for 2 with a sacrifice fly and an RBI ground out for three total RBI.

Right fielder Mark Zagunis was a perfect 2 for 2 with a double and two walks. Zagunis scored one run.

Third baseman Jeimer Candelario was 2 for 4 with two doubles. He scored twice and had one RBI.

Center fielder Jacob Hannemann was went 2 for 4 with a double and two runs scored. DH Billy McKinney was 2 for 3 with a double and a walk. McKinney scored twice and batted one run in. Second baseman Daniel Lockhart went 2 for 3.

The Pelicans are now 6-3 and have a one-game lead in the Carolina League Southern Division.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs allowed four runs in the top of the ninth inning to fall to the Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers), 5-4.

The SB Cubs wasted a good start from Zach Hedges, who tossed five scoreless innings and allowed just two hits. Hedges struck out three and didn't walk anyone.

James Ferris pitched the eighth and ninth innings and took the loss. He was great in the eighth inning, retiring the side in order, but of course the ninth inning was a disaster, not all of his own making. The tying and go-ahead runs in the top of the ninth scored on a two-out throwing error by shortstop Gleyber Torres. Ferris pitched two innings and allowed four runs, two earned, on four hits. He did strike out five and he walked no one.

Left fielder Trey Martin was 2 for 4 with two doubles. He scored once and had one RBI.

You can see the highlights of tonight's game here.