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Chicago Cubs Minor League Playoff Wrap: September 8

South Bend is going to play for the title, but Iowa’s season ends.

Derek Casey
Derek Casey
Clinton Cole

I’m going to start with South Bend tonight because that’s where the good news is.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs defeated the Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers), 7-3 to win the best-of-three Eastern Division title series, two games to none.

South Bend jumped on Loons starter Kevin Malisheski with a run on the first and a run in the second inning. Nelson Maldonado singled home Andy Weber in the first inning and Brennen Davis singled home Clayton Daniel in the second.

Meanwhile, South Bend starter Derek Casey was strong, only faltering in the third inning when he gave up a leadoff triple to James Outman and an RBI single to Leonel Valera. Casey finished the night with a line of one run on five hits over four innings. Casey struck out two and walked one.

In the top of the fourth inning, South Bend extended their lead to 4-1 on a two-run double by Maldonado. They made it 6-1 in the fifth inning on a single by Daniel and an outfield error.

Great Lakes only real chance to get back into this game came in the seventh inning. Reliever Brandon Hughes loaded the bases with one out on a single, a walk and then another single. A sacrifice fly made cut the Cubs lead to 6-2. That was followed up by an RBI single by Michael Busch that made it 6-3.

But Brendan King was then summoned from the bullpen with runners on the corners and two outs. Not only did King retire the next batter on a soft grounder back to the mound to end the threat in the seventh inning, King retired the next six batters to end the game.

Maldonado had a sacrifice fly scoring Levi Jordan in the top of the eighth inning to make it 7-3.

Fauris Guerrero got the win in relief because Casey didn’t go five innings. Carrera allowed three hits but no runs over two innings. He struck out four and didn’t walk anyone.

King did qualify for the save. He struck out two in his 2.1 innings of perfect relief.

DH Maldonado was 2 for 4 with a double and four RBI.

2B Daniel went 3 for 5. He scored twice and had one run batted in.

LF Davis was 2 for 5 with a double and he drove home one.

SS Weber was 2 for 4 with a walk and one run scored.

I don’t have full highlights, but I do have the RBI single by Davis in the second inning.

South Bend advances to the Midwest League Championship Series for the first time since 2013, when they were a Diamondbacks affiliate. South Bend hasn’t won the title since 2005.

A Cubs Midwest League affiliate has now advanced to the title game for the first time since 2014 when the Kane County Cougars won the Midwest League title.

We don’t know who South Bend will play in the title series yet as the Clinton and Cedar Rapids series is tied at one game each.

Game one of the title series will be Wednesday, September 11 at Four Winds Field in South Bend. Game two will be the next day.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs season ended with a 10-5 loss to the Round Rock Express (Astros). The Express win the PCL Division Series three games to two.

Iowa jumped off to a 3-0 lead after two innings off of top Astros prospect Forrest Whitley. Jim Adduci had a two-run single in the first inning and Johnny Field drove home Jhonny Pereda with an RBi groundout in the second inning.

But the wheels came off when Round Rock scored seven runs in the third inning. Iowa starter Trevor Clifton loaded the bases with no outs on two singles and a walk. After a sacrifice fly made it 3-1, Clifton hit one batter and got an infield fly, which made it look like he was going to get out of the inning with minimal damage.

Instead, Nick Tanielu hit a two-run double to tie the game and Alex De Goti hit a three-run home run to make it 6-3 and Iowa would never lead again. Clifton exited for Jordan Minch, who allowed another run in the third inning to make it a seven-run third inning and make it 7-3.

Iowa would add a run in the fourth inning on a single from Donnie Dewees. But Round Rock added to their lead with a two-run home run by Drew Ferguson off of Craig Brooks. The Express made it 10-4 in the eighth with a solo home run by Chas McCormick off of Wyatt Short.

Vimael Machin scored the final run of the 2019 Iowa season with a home run in the bottom of the eighth inning.

Clifton took the loss after allowing six runs on five hits over 2.2 innings. He walked two and struck out one.

Machin was 2 for 4 with the home run and the walk. Adduci and Trent Giambrone were both 2 for 5.

So the Iowa Cubs season ends with a loss in the first round of the Pacific Coast League playoffs. Iowa is still looking for their first PCL title and their first title of any sort since the team won the 1993 title in the now-defunct American Association.

Quick reminder that with Iowa eliminated and South Bend not playing until Wednesday, there will be no Minor League Wrap on Monday or Tuesday.