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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: April 20

Lots of strong pitching performances tonight as the Cubs minors win 4 of 5.

World Baseball Classic Semifinals: Cuba v United States
Roenis Elías
Photo by Megan Briggs/Getty Images

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs swept the Buffalo Bison (Blue Jays) in a doubleheader, 10-2 and 3-2. The I-Cubs had a no-hitter going into the seventh inning in both of these games.

In game one, Roenis Elías kept the Bison penned up through six innings before they finally broke through with a double by former I-Cub Wynton Bernard with one out in the sixth. Elías exited immediately after the double. Rowan Wick came in and gave up a two-run double after Elias left, with both of those runs charged to the starter.

Elias’ final line was two runs on one hit over 6.1 innings. He struck out two, walked two and hit one batter.

The I-Cubs pounded Bison pitching for 13 hits and three home runs in game one. Third baseman Christopher Morel hit the first one, a solo shot in the third inning. It was Morel’s fifth home run this year already. Morel was 1 for 4.

In the fourth inning, first baseman Matt Mervis hit a 410-foot blast with a man on. It was the fourth home run this year for “Mash.” Mervis was also 1 for 4.

Right fielder Mike Tauchman contributed an opposite field two-run home run in the fifth. It was his second of 2023. Tauchman was 2 for 3 with a walk and three total runs batted in.

Left fielder Darius Hill went 2 for 4 with a two-run single in the third inning. Hill scored once.

All nine I-Cubs had at least one hit in this game.

Morel’s oppo taco:

Mervis puts one into orbit.

Tachman also goes to the opposite field.

Game two was more of a pitcher’s battle, but Iowa starter Riley Thompson was more than up to the task. Thompson pitched five innings without allowing a run or a hit. Thompson struck out nine and walked three.

Anthony Kay kept the no-hitter intact after relieving Vinny Nittoli in the sixth. But he walked the first batter of the seventh inning and then allowed a single, the only hit of the game for Buffalo. Cam Sanders was eventually called upon for the save after a sacrifice fly put runners on second and third with one out and the score 3-1 Iowa.

Sanders allowed one inherited runner to score on a ground out and walked one batter, but he then struck out Vinny Capra to end the game and get the save.

Iowa scored twice in the first inning and one in the second inning and hung on after that. Morel doubled to lead off the game, Mervis walked and then shortstop David Bote doubled both of them home to make the game 2-0. Both Bote and Morel were 1 for 3.

Those were the only two hits Iowa had in game two.

Here’s an example of Riley Thompson’s curve in game two.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies clouded the vision of the Chattanooga Lookouts (Reds), 2-1 in ten innings.

The first hitter of the game, the Lookouts’ Jacob Hurtubise, homered to make it 1-0. Smokies starter Jordan Wicks did not allow another hit or a run over five innings. The final line of Wicks was one run on one hit over five. He struck out six and walked just one.

Blake Whitney and Ben Hecht both threw two scoreless innings after Wicks’ night ended. Then Cayne Ueckert pitched the top of the tenth without allowing a run and got the win. Ueckert allowed no runs and no hits, but he did walk one batter and he struck out two.

Third baseman Luis Verdugo hit a walkoff RBI infield single in the bottom of the ninth. Verdugo was 1 for 3 with a sac fly for two total RBI.

First baseman Miguel Amaya was 2 for 4 with a double.

Verdugo’s walk-off single back to the pitcher. Some good baserunning by ghost runner Luis Vazquez.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs lost to the Great Lakes Loons (Dodgers), 5-2.

Starter Luke Little pitched three scoreless innings. He allowed three hits and walked two. Little struck out four.

The loss went to Tyler Santana, who got knocked around for four runs on six hits over 2.2 innings. Santana walked three and struck out three.

Center fielder Bradlee Beesley hit a solo home run as the first hitter of the game. Beesley was 1 for 4.

Second baseman Liam Spence hit a solo home run in the fifth. He was 1 for 3 with a walk tonight.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans were under par against the Augusta GreenJackets (Braves), 3-2.

Grant Kipp started and allowed two runs on five hits over four innings. Kipp walked three and struck out five.

Marino Santy threw the next four innings and got the win because Kipp didn’t go five. But he also was the better pitcher as he allowed no runs on two hits. He walked two and struck out five.

Jack Aldrich pitched the top of the ninth and got the save. Aldrich allowed a one-out single, but he struck out the other three batters he faced.

Myrtle Beach scored three times in the second inning and then hung on the rest of the way. Second baseman Pedro Ramirez hit an RBI triple. He was 1 for 4.

Third baseman Reginald Preciado was 2 for 4 and scored the first Pelicans’ run.

Highlights. Some really good defense here from the Birds in here, so be sure to watch