Big news out of Des Moines today. The Cubs announced that they have extended their Player Development Contract with the Iowa Cubs through the 2020 season. Also, the I-Cubs extended their lease with the city of Des Moines through the 2037 season and Principal Financial Group extended their agreement for the naming rights to Principal Park through the 2027 season.
So the Cubs are staying in central Iowa and the I-Cubs are staying in Des Moines.
The Iowa Cubs captured the Oklahoma City Dodgers, 7-5.
Alec Mills made his Cubs debut a winning one. Mills allowed four runs on six hits over six innings. He struck out four and walked one.
Rob Zastryzny got the three-inning save. He allowed just one hit, a home run to Brett Eibner with two outs in the bottom of the ninth. Zastryzny struck out three and walked no one.
Third baseman Jeimer Candelario got the Cubs on the board with a grand slam in the top of the first inning. Candelario also hit an RBI triple in the eighth inning. Candy was 2 for 4 with five RBI.
Second baseman Ian Happ hit a solo home run in the fifth, his first Triple-A home run. Happ was 1 for 4 with two runs scored.
The Tennessee Smokies reeled in the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Reds), 2-1.
Strong start for Jen-Ho Tseng, who allowed just one run on four hits over five innings The one run scored on a fifth-inning home run. Tseng struck out seven and walked no one.
James Pugliese got the win with two perfect innings of relief. He did not have a strikeout.
The save went to Ryan McNeil, who pitched the ninth inning. He gave up a one-out single, but he struck out the other three batters he faced.
The Smokies took the lead in the top of the eighth on a double by second baseman David Bote that scored Cael Brockmeyer. Bote was 1 for 3 with a walk.
The Smokies got their other run in the fifth inning on a solo home run by center fielder Trey Martin. Martin was 2 for 4.
Left fielder Charcer Burks was 3 for 5 with a double.
Myrtle Beach Pelicans
The Myrtle Beach Pelicans scored one run in the eighth and one in the ninth to cage the Lynchburg Hillcats (Indians), 2-1.
Last year’s third-round pick Thomas Hatch made his professional debut tonight and he was terrific. He didn’t give up a hit until there were two outs in the fifth inning, but that was an RBI single. Hatch allowed one unearned run over five innings. He struck out two and walked three.
James Norwood pitched the final two scoreless innings and got the win. He gave up one hit. He did not have a strikeout or a walk.
The Pelicans managed only three hits tonight, the same number that the Hillcats got. P.J. Higgins scored what turned out to be the winning run in the top of the ninth on a Matt Rose fielder’s choice. Higgins was 1 for 3 with a walk.
South Bend Cubs
The South Bend Cubs dropped an Opening Day doubleheader to the West Michigan Whitecaps (Tigers), 2-0 and 1-0 in 16 innings. Yes, the SB Cubs played 23 innings and failed to score a run.
In the first game, starter Duncan Robinson pitched well but still got the loss. He gave up two runs, both unearned, on two hits over five innings. Robinson struck out two and walked no one.
South Bend managed just two hits in game one.
In game two, Tyson Miller was strong for 4.2 scoreless innings. Miller gave up four hits. He struck out seven and walked just one.
The South Bend bullpen did not give up another hit until the 16th inning, and then it was against position player Vimael Machin. Dakota Mekkes pitched 2.1 innings, Pedro Silva threw three and Michael Rucker and Chad Hockin each pitched two.
The Whitecaps finally pushed a run across in the bottom of the 16th with two hits off of Machin. But first, Machin threw a perfect 15th inning.
South Bend pitchers in this game struck out 24 batters and walked just three.
Shortstop Isaac Paredes was 2 for 5 before he got removed for a pinch-runner.
South Bend struck out 19 times in this game and walked just twice.