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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 15

The season ends for the Pelicans and South Bend is forced into game three.

Pelicans baseball Myrtle Beach Pelicans

Not a lot of good news tonight, but there’s a little.

We’re going to start with the playoff teams again.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were hounded by the Charleston RiverDogs (Rays), 10-6. The RiverDogs won the South Division playoff, 2 games to none. The Pelicans season is now over.

Didier Vargas started the game strong, striking out the first two batters he faced. But a seeing-eye single and a two-run home run that just cleared the fence in right field put the Birds in an early 2-0 hole.

But DH Haydn McGeary struck back with a two-run home run of his own in the bottom of the first.

Vargas continued strong through the first three innings, striking out seven batters and keeping the score tied. But things fell apart in the fourth. After Vargas retired the first two batters of the inning on grounders to third, he gave up a single, a walk and another RBI single, allowing Charleston to take a 3-2 lead. Then a crucial error by second baseman Josue Huma blew the gates open to a five-run inning by the RiverDogs, with all five runs coming after two were out.

The final line on Vargas, who took the loss, was seven runs on six hits over 3.2 innings. Only three of the seven runs were earned. Vargas struck out seven and walked just one.

Meanwhile, the Pelicans bats could not do anything against Charleston pitchers Alex Ayala Jr. and Daiveyon Whittle after the McGeary home run in the first inning. When Pelicans reliever Brody McCullough surrendered three more runs in the top of the eighth, the score was 10-2 and it looked hopeless.

It was, but the Pelicans put up a fight in the. ninth inning. Moises Ballesteros came to bat as a pinch-hitter with a man and no outs and crushed one over the right field wall to make it 10-4. The next batter up, Josue Huma, went back-to-back with a home run of his own to make it 10-5.

The Pelicans then put two men on after one out and it began to look like a miracle comeback was possible. But other than an RBI single by McGeary, the Pelicans rally fell short there and their season ended with a 10-6 defeat.

McGeary went 2 for 3 with the home run and walk. He had the three runs batted in.

Huma was 3 for 5.

Here are the final Pelicans highlights of the season.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs were hulled by the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins), 5-3. The best-of-three series is now tied at one game apiece. Game three is on Friday night in Cedar Rapids.

South Bend took an early lead in this one when right fielder Owen Caissie doubled and third baseman Luis Verdugo singled him home in the top of the second. But South Bend starter Porter Hodge gave up a run in the bottom of the second and a solo home. run in the third.

The Cubs used the same formula in the fourth inning to tie it up 2-2 as they did to score their first run. Verdugo doubled and then catcher Pablo Aliendo singled him home.

Second baseman Fabian Pertuz gave South Bend a 3-2 lead in the top of the fifth with a solo home run.

Hodge left after pitching four innings and allowing two runs on three hits. He walked three and struck out four.

Unfortunately, neither pitcher who threw in the fourth inning for South Bend, Adam Laskey and Joe Nahas, could find the plate. The Kernels’ Brooks Lee led off the inning with a double off of Laskey and then Laskey walked the next batter to put runners on first and second and no outs.

But Laskey looked like he’d get out of the inning when he retired the next two batters on fly outs (thanks in part to a terrific catch by Pete Crow-Armstrong in center field). But then Laskey walked the bases loaded and he exited for Nahas.

Nahas walked the first batter he faced on four pitches to tie the game 3-3. Next Nahas hit a batter (on what would have been ball four anyway) to make it 4-3. Finally Nahas balked in the third run to make if 5-3.

Neither team came close to scoring the rest of the game.

Laskey was charged with three runs on one hit and two walks over two-thirds of an inning. He was also handed the loss.

South Bend out hit Cedar Rapids 7 to 4, but they also issued seven walks and hit two batters while South Bend hitters only walked three times.

Verdugo was 2 for 4. Pertuz was 1 for 5 with the home run.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs clipped the wings of the Memphis Redbirds (Cardinals), 8-5.

Wyatt Short started and picked up the win after allowing three runs on four hits over five innings. He walked two and struck out four.

Ben Leeper pitched a perfect ninth inning and got the save. He struck out one.

Iowa jumped out to a 7-0 and 8-1 lead by the fourth inning and then hung on to complete their victory. They scored five runs in the third inning, highlighted by a two-run double by center fielder Darius Hill. Hill was 2 for 4 with two doubles and the two RBI.

Catcher John Hicks made it 8-1 with a solo home run in the bottom of the fourth inning. It was Hicks’ 18th home run this season. He was 1 for 4.

Right fielder Alexander Canario played his first game in two weeks and went 1 for 3 with an RBI single. He also walked once and he scored two runs.

Left fielder Brennen Davis was 1 for 3 with a double and he was hit by a pitch. He scored two times.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies were uncovered by the Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds), 5-3.

Dalton Stambaugh started and held the Lookouts to one run on six hits over four innings. Stambaugh struck out six and walked one.

Jarod Wright relieved Stambaugh and he didn’t have much trouble in the fifth inning beyond hitting a batter. But then he came out to pitch the sixth and he gave up three runs and took the loss. Wright’s final line was three runs on two hits and three walks over 1.2 innings. He did not strike anyone out and he did hit that one batter.

Left fielder Cole Roederer hit a solo home run in the fourth inning, his fifth home run over the past seven games. Roederer was 2 for 4 and scored twice. Roederer now has nine home runs this year and eight with Tennessee.

Shortstop Luis Vazquez went 3 for 4 with one run batted in. He also stole a base.

Right fielder Yonathan Perlaza went 0 for 1 with three walks and a steal.