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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 9

Doubleheader disaster for Iowa and Tennessee, but the Smokies clinched anyway. South Bend and Myrtle Beach both win.

Daniel Palencia
Chloe Trofatter / USA TODAY NETWORK

Not a good day on the field for the Smokies today, but nonetheless:

The Smokies clinched a playoff berth when Rocket City beat Montgomery 8-6 to eliminate Birmingham from winning the second half. The Cubs will either qualify as the second-half champions or, more likely, as the team with the second-best overall record in the division after Rocket City wins both halves.

It is the first time the Smokies have qualified for the postseason since 2013.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs were swept in a doubleheader by the Jacksonville Jumbo Shrimp (Marlins), 16-0 and 3-1.

Nothing went right for Iowa in game one, which was the continuation of a game that started yesterday but did not get out of the first inning. Starter Matt Swarmer got the loss after allowing four runs on seven hits in four innings. One of those hits was a two-run home run. Swarmer walked one and struck out four.

Right fielder Jared Young went 1 for 2 with a double and two walks.

Iowa only had four hits in game one and they managed to hit into a triple play.

Wyatt Short turned in another good start for Iowa in game two, allowing just one run on six hits over five innings. Short walked two and struck out four.

Willians Astudillo hit a walk-off two-run bomb with two out in the seventh inning off of Brendon Little. Little had pitched 1.2 innings and gave up the two runs on just the one big hit and one walk. He struck out two.

First baseman Matt Mervis went 2 for 3 with a double.

Shortstop Luis Vazquez was 2 for 2.

Catcher John Hicks scored Iowa’s only run of the doubleheader in the fourth inning. After reaching on a fielder’s choice, Hicks went to second on a wild pitch. He then stole third base and scored on a second wild pitch. Hicks went 0 for 3.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies dropped a doubleheader to the Pensacola Blue Wahoos (Marlins), 5-4 and 12-7.

Jordan Wicks turned in another impressive start for the Smokies in game one. He did not allow a run and gave up just one hit over four innings. Wicks struck out five and walked just one. He did hit one batter.

Taking out one disastrous outing on August 20 when Wicks got rocked for six runs, five earned, over just one inning, Wicks has allowed just one total run over his past five starts and twenty innings. (Of course, that one outing in the middle there makes his overall numbers look worse.)

The bullpen let the Smokies down in game one. Samuel Reyes gave up three runs over two-thirds of an inning. Jarod Wright later took the loss after giving up a two-run home run in the top of the ninth. Wright’s final line was two runs on one hit and three walks over 2.1 innings. Wright also hit one batter. He struck out no one.

The Smokies only had three hits in game one, but one of them was a three-run home run by DH Jake Washer. Washer now has 16 home runs this year and two with the Smokies. He was 1 for 3.

Left fielder Nelson Maldonado was 1 for 2 with a run scored in game one. But he was also hit in the hand with a pitch in this game and ended up leaving the game after the half inning. He did stay in and run the bases after getting hit and stole second base.

Washer’s home run.

Dalton Stambaugh started game two for the Smokies and was knocked around for five runs on eight hits over 4.1 innings. Stambaugh walked one and struck out one.

The Smokies bullpen in game two wasn’t any better and Ben Hecht got the loss after allowing five runs on one hit over just one inning of work. As you can probably guess, Hecht walked three and hit a batter. He did not strike anyone out.

Left fielder Cole Roederer hit two two-run home runs in game two. Roederer first one came in the second inning and the second one in the seventh. Roederer has six home runs this year and five with Tennessee. He was 2 for 4 in game two.

DH Miguel Amaya connected for a solo home run in the third. It was his third Smokies’ home run and fifth overall. Amaya was 1 for 4.

Second baseman Chase Strumpf was 2 for 3 with a walk in game two. He scored twice and had an RBI single in the second.

Shortstop Andy Weber was 2 for 4 and scored once.

First baseman Bryce Ball went 2 for 4.

Roederer’s first home run.

The Smokies got another run in game two on this blooper by Griffin Conine:

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs grilled the Cedar Rapids Kernels (Twins), 4-1.

Daniel Palencia turned in a nice start, allowing no runs and just one hit over four innings. He struck out five and walked just one.

The win went to Joe Nahas in relief. Nahas gave up one run on three hits over 3.2 innings. He had some control issues as he walked four, but six strikeouts helped get him out of trouble.

Riley Martin went the rest of the way for the save. Martin pitched 1.1 innings and allowed neither a hit nor a run, although he did walk one batter. Martin struck out two.

Jordan Nwogu stayed hot, going 3 for 4 with a walk tonight. Nwogu stole a base and scored one run.

Second baseman Fabian Pertuz was 3 for 5 with an RBI.

Third baseman Luis Verdugo was 2 for 5.

South Bend had 11 hits tonight and all of them were singles. All four of their runs were scored in the sixth inning.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans pan-fried the Carolina Mudcats (Brewers), 10-3.

Didier Vargas started and got the win with some excellent control. Vargas pitched five scoreless innings even though he allowed five hits. But he did not walk anyone and struck out eight. Vargas threw 52 of his 68 pitches for strikes.

The Pelicans opened up a 9-0 lead by scoring in each of the first five innings.

DH Haydn McGeary opened up the scoring with a three-run home run in the bottom of the first inning. It was McGeary’s first professional home run. He was 1 for 4 with a walk tonight.

In the second inning, second baseman Juan Mora made it 6-0 with a three-run home run of his own. It was Mora’s seventh home run on the campaign. Mora was 3 for 5 with two runs scored and three runs driven in.

Left fielder Ezequiel Pagan tacked on the tenth run with a solo home run in the tenth. Pagan was 2 for 5 with a double and the home run, which was his 11th this year.

Shortstop Josue Huma was 3 for 5 with a double. He scored twice and had an RBI single in the fifth.

Third baseman James Triantos went 2 for 5 with a run batted in.