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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 7

The Smokies catcher goes 4 for 4 on the final day to clinch the title.

Willson Contreras
Willson Contreras
Al Yellon

It's the final day of the regular season. It's been a long ride. There will be no Minor League Wrap tomorrow, but we will have Pelicans Wrap starting on Wednesday as they start the playoffs.

Congratulations to the Smokies Willson Contreras and the Pelicans Chesny Young, who won the batting titles in the Southern League and Carolina League respectively.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs were run over by the Round Rock Express (Rangers), 7-4.

The I-Cubs emptied out the bullpen for the final game of the season. P.J. Francescon got his first start since 2013 and he pitched three scoreless innings, giving up just one hit. Francescon struck out three and walked no one.

Ryan Buchter started the eighth inning with the I-Cubs leading 4-2 but got into trouble immediately, giving up a run on two singles and a hit by pitch. The only out he got was by picking a runner off first base. Then Brian Schlitter entered the game and after striking out the first batter he faced, Schlitter loaded the bases with a infield single and a walk. The next batter, Brett Nicholas, connected for his second home run in as many innings, and this one was a grand slam. The final line on Schlitter was 0.2 innings, allowing three runs on four hits and a walk. He struck out one.

Center fielder John Andreoli hit a solo home run to lead off the third inning. It was his 5th home run this season. Andreoli was 2 for 4.

Third baseman Christian Villanueva connected for his 20th home run this season with the bases empty in the sixth inning. Villanueva was 2 for 4.

Iowa finished the season 80-64, tied for the for fifth-highest win total in franchise history.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies split a doubleheader with the Biloxi Shuckers (Brewers), winning game one 2-0 and losing game two 3-2.

In game one, Jeffry Antigua pitched the first four innings and allowed six hits. He walked two and struck out two.

Neil Ramirez threw one perfect inning in a rehab assignment and got the win because Antigua didn't go five innings. He struck out one.

Starling Peralta got his sixth save by pitching the final two innings and allowing only one hit. He struck out one and walked no one.

Catcher Willson Contreras clinched the Southern League batting title by going 4 for 4 with a stolen base in game one. He also scored one run. Contreras finished the season batting .333 and is the first Tennessee hitter to win the Southern League batting title since 1978.

Contreras did not play in game two.

Ryan Williams started game two but only pitched one scoreless inning before departing. He allowed one hit. He neither walked nor struck anyone out.

James Pugliese pitched 1.1 innings and allowed two runs on two hits to take the loss. Pugliese walked three, one intentionally. He did not strike anyone out.

Shortstop Bryant Flete and catcher Tyler Pearson hit back-to-back triples to lead off the third inning. Both players were 1 for 3.

The Smokies finished the season with an overall record of 76-63. However, they failed to win either half and thus, their season ends today.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were rocked by the Wilmington Blue Rocks (Royals), 5-4.

Starter Tyler Skulina took the loss after giving up five runs in the second inning. However, four of those runs were unearned after an error by third baseman Ben Carhart opened up the floodgates. Skulina went two innings and allowed three hits. He struck out three and walked one.

Center fielder Pin-Chieh Chen hit a two-run home run in the fifth inning, his fifth of the season and fourth with the Pelicans. Chen was 2 for 5 and scored twice.

First baseman Jacob Rogers was 2 for 3 with a walk and an RBI.

The Pelicans finish the regular season 81-57 and will open the best-of-three first round of the Carolina League playoffs Wednesday in Winston-Salem. Duane Underwood Jr. is scheduled to go in game one. Brad Markey will go in game two and Jonathan Martinez will pitch game three, if necessary.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs sank the Lake County Captains (Indians), 3-0.

Trevor Clifton finished the season on a strong note as he gave up just three baserunners over 6.1 innings, two singles and one reached by an error. Clifton only faced one batter over the minimum as one of the runners who singled was picked off first base and another was erased in a double play. Clifton struck out five as he finished the season with a record of 8-10.

Sam Wilson pitched the ninth inning and got his second save. He allowed a one-out single, but nothing else. Wilson struck out one.

Third baseman Jesse Hodges was 2 for 4 with a double. He scored once and had one RBI.

DH Kevin Encarnacion was 2 for 4 with an RBI. He was thrown out attempting to steal home on a double-steal.