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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 4

Kevin Alcantara’s grand slam propels the Pelicans past the RIverDogs. Tennessee wins a rain-shortened game. Iowa splits and South Bend is no-hit.

Kevin Alcantara
Kevin Alcantara
Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Cubs today announced that first baseman Matt Mervis and right-hander Walker Powell were the Cubs’ Minor League Player and Pitcher of the Month for August.

Mervis went 25-for-82 (.305 batting average) with seven doubles and four home runs for Triple-A Iowa. His ten walks gave him a .390 on-base percentage. He finished the month with a ten-game hitting streak.

Powell went 2-0 with a 0.44 ERA in five appearances (one start) for Double-A Tennessee. Powell struck out 21 and walked just six over 20.1 innings in August.

Tomorrow is Labor Day, which traditionally is the final day of the minor league season. But MLB blew up the traditional minor league season in 2021, so instead of being a season finale, it will be a normal Monday off-day. South Bend and Myrtle Beach have one more six-game series to go and both teams have already qualified for the playoffs. Tennessee plays two more six-game series before a possible playoff berth for them. Iowa’s regular season continues until September 28.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs split a doubleheader with the Columbus Clippers (Guardians), winning game one 5-3 and dropping game two 1-0. The two teams also split the six-game series evenly with three wins each.

Caleb Kilian started game one and allowed just one unearned run over five innings. Kilian gave up five hits and walked three. He also struck out three.

Kilian didn’t get the win because Jonathan Holder gave up the lead with two runs in the bottom of the sixth. Kervin Castro had to relieve Holder with runners on first and second and only one out. A wild pitch and a sacrifice fly off of Castro gave the Clippers a 3-2 lead, but Castro then got a ground out to end the inning. Castro would then get the win when Iowa scored three runs in the top of the seventh.

Ben Leeper pitched the bottom of the seventh and retired the side in order for his eighth save. Leeper struck out one.

First baseman Matt Mervis tied the game up twice. The first time, he made it 1-1 with a home run in the third inning. That gave Mervis an even 30 home runs this year. It was his ninth with the I-Cubs.

In the top of the seventh, Mervis hit an RBI single that scored pinch-runner Narciso Crook, tying the game 3-3.

Mervis went 2 for 3 with a walk and two runs scored. He also extended his hitting streak to 13 games. It would end there, as Mervis went 0 for 3 in game two.

Left fielder Jackson Frazier hit a two-run single later in the seventh inning that ended up being the winning hit. Frazier went 1 for 4.

Third baseman Levi Jordan went 2 for 4 and scored once.

In game two, Wyatt Short was the tough-luck loser, giving up just one run on three hits over four innings. Short struck out four and only walked one, although he did hit two batters.

Center fielder Darius Hill went 1 for 3. Along with his 1 for 4 in game one, Hill now has a hit in 17 of his past 19 games.

Here’s Mervis’ home run in game one.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies beat the Mississippi Braves, 5-2 in a game ended by rain in the bottom of the sixth inning. Game 2 of the scheduled doubleheader was cancelled.

The Smokies took four of five from the M-Braves.

Ben Brown started and got the win after allowing just one run on four hits over five innings. Brown struck out six and walked two.

DH Miguel Amaya hit a three-run home run in the top of the first inning and Tennessee never looked back. It was Amaya’s fourth home run this year and second in Double-A. He went 1 for 3.

Third baseman Jake Slaughter went 2 for 3 and scored once.

Left fielder Nelson Maldonado was 2 for 3 with a double.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs were no-hit by the Lansing Lugnuts (Athletics), 2-1. Despite losing the final two games of the series, South Bend won the series 4 games to 2 and clinched a second-half title on Saturday.

Starter Joe Nahas gave up a solo home run to the second batter of the game and led the rest of the game. Nahas’ final line was one run on two hits over four innings. He struck out five and walked one.

Four Lansing pitchers combined to no-hit the SB Cubs. The Cubs did draw seven walks and Jordan Nwogu scored from second on an errant pickoff throw. Nwogu was 0 for 3 with a walk and a stolen base.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans put a muzzle on the Charleston RiverDogs (Rays), 9-6. The two teams split the six-game series as each team won three games.

Starter Chase Watkins went three innings and gave up two runs on six hits. Watkins struck out three and walked one.

Brody McCullough, the Cubs’ 2022 tenth-round pick, got his first win with the Pelicans after he gave up a run on two hits over 1.1 innings. He walked one and struck out one.

Frankie Scalzo Jr. picked up a two-inning save tonight. Scalzo surrendered two hits but no runs. He struck out five and walked just one. Scalzo loaded the bases with just one out in the ninth before striking out the final two batters to end the game.

Center fielder Kevin Alcantara turned a 6-4 RiverDogs lead into an 8-6 Pelicans lead with a grand slam in the top of the eighth inning. It was Alcantara’s 14th home run this year. He went 2 for 4 with a walk.

Third baseman James Triantos reached base all five times as he was 2 for 2 with three walks. Triantos scored one run.

Right fielder Felix Stevens added on an insurance run with an RBI double in the top of the ninth. Stevens went 2 for 4.

Here’s Alcantara’s slam.