Congratulations to Zach Mort, who won the vote for the BCB Minor League Pitcher of the Year! Mort had a big season as both a starter and a reliever for South Bend and Eugene.
Just one game tonight.
Kendall Graveman started this game in a rehab assignment and he was terrific. Graveman retired the first ten Express hitters before giving up a walk and a single with one out in the fourth. After getting the second out of the fourth inning on a fly to left, Graveman exited the game and Michael Rucker ended the threat in the fourth inning with a grounder to first baseman Jim Adduci.
Meanwhile, in the bottom of the second inning, catcher Jhonny Pereda took the very first pitch he saw in Triple-A and lined it into right field for a two-run double, scoring Adduci and Johnny Field and giving Iowa a 2-0 lead.
The score would stay 2-0 until the top of the sixth inning when Express center fielder Ronnie Dawson hit a solo home run off of Rucker to make it 2-1.
iowa would get that run run right back in the bottom of the inning. Donnie Dewees led off the seventh inning with a double. With two outs, Adduci singled Dewees home to give Iowa a 3-1 lead.
Rucker gave up a double to Alex De Goti to lead off the seventh inning. After striking out the next batter, Rucker left the game for Dakota Mekkes. Mekkes immediately loaded the bases with one out after he hit a batter and surrendered a single. Mekkes got the next batter to hit into a 5-2 force at the plate. But then Mekkes walked Drew Ferguson to force in a run and cut Iowa’s lead to 3-2. But with the bases loaded, two out and a one-run lead, Mekkes induced a pop out to shortstop Zack Short to end the threat.
James Norwood would come on to pitch the ninth and protect the one-run lead. He retired the side in order to pick up the save and keep Iowa’s season alive. Norwood struck out one.
The final line on Graveman was no runs on one hit over 3.2 innings. He struck out five and walked one.
Rucker got the win because Graveman didn’t go five innings. He was charged with two runs on two hits over 2.2 innings. Rucker struck out four and walked two.
Alex Wilson pitched a perfect eighth inning for a hold.
Adduci went 2 for 3 with a walk. Pereda was 1 for 2 with a walk and that huge two-run double in the second inning.
The start of this game was delayed by an hour because all the equipment hadn’t arrived in Des Moines from Round Rock in time.
The two teams will meet again for Game 4 of the series. Trevor Clifton is scheduled to start game 4.
South Bend Cubs
South Bend was off after clinching their first-round playoff series with Bowling Green yesterday. But tonight we found out that South Bend will play the Great Lakes Loons in the best-of-three Divisional Championship Series. The Loons beat the Lake County Captains 5-0 tonight to win their best-of-three series two games to one. That series will start on Saturday night in South Bend.