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Chicago Cubs Minor League Wrap: September 10

The Smokies clinch a playoff spot! And everybody wins!

Pete Crow-Armstrong Dylan Heuer

It’s the final regular season game of the year for the Pelicans and the final game overall for the South Bend.

And finally some great news out of Tennessee!

The Cubs released right-hander Josh Roberson. Right-hander Starlyn Pichardo was activated and shortstop Leonel Espinoza was sent down to Mesa to make room.

Iowa Cubs

The Iowa Cubs thundered past the Omaha Storm Chasers (Royals), 9-3.

Caleb Kilian bounced back from a few bad starts to allow just one unearned run on three hits over 4.2 innings. Kilian walked two and struck out two.

Because Kilian came one out short of five innings, the win went to Anthony Kay, who got the final out of the fifth inning and then pitched a scoreless sixth. The line on Kay was no runs on one hit over 1.1 innings. He struck out four and walked no one. That’s pretty good.

Left fielder Pete Crow-Armstrong had hit first four-hit game of the season, going 4 for 5 with a double and a grand slam in the sixth inning. It was Crow-Armstrong’s 20th home run this year and sixth with Iowa. He scored three times and had the four RBI.

Third baseman Jared Young got back on the home run track (after an absence of just one game) when he hit a two-run home run in the fifth. It was Young’s 21st home run this season and sixth over the last six games. Young was 1 for 3 with two walks. He scored twice.

First baseman Matt Mervis went 3 for 5 with a double. He scored one run.

A two-run single for Yonathan Perlaza, who was 1 for 4.

Young’s home run.

First three PCA hits.

Tennessee Smokies

The Tennessee Smokies scored three runs in the eighth and three in the ninth to down the Mississippi Braves, 6-4. With the win, the Smokies clinched a playoff spot.

Things were looking back when starter Manuel Espinoza gave a home run to the first batter of the bottom of the first inning, Cody Milligan. Espinoza lasted just two innings and allowed three runs on five hits. He struck out three and walked no one.

Carlos Guzman settled things down with three scoreless innings after he relieved Espinoza in the third. Guzman allowed just one hit. He struck out four and walked no one.

Eduarniel Nunez entered the game with two on and one out in the eighth inning and stopped any rally in its tracks with a fly out and a ground out. After the Smokies took the lead in the top of the ninth, he retired the side in order in the bottom of the inning to get the win and clinch a playoff spot. Nunez struck out one.

Center fielder Bradlee Beesley completed the comeback with a two-run double in the top of the ninth. It was Beesley’s second double of the game. He was 2 for 4 with a stolen base and two runs scored.

Second baseman Matt Shaw tacked on an insurance run by doubling home Beesley in the top of the ninth. Shaw went 1 for 5.

Third baseman BJ Murray Jr. hit a two-run double in the eighth inning. Murray was 1 for 3 with a walk.

First baseman Haydn McGeary was 2 for 4.

South Bend Cubs

The South Bend Cubs rounded up the Quad Cities River Bandits (Royals), 8-1.

Michael Arias had some major control issues, but he kept the River Bandits from scoring. Arias allowed no runs on one hit over 2.1 innings. He walked five and struck out five.

The win was awarded to Yovanny Cabrera, who pitched a scoreless seventh and eighth innings. Cabrera gave up no hits, but he did walk two (a two-out walk in both innings) and he struck out two.

Center fielder Kevin Alcántara finished the season strong, going 4 for 4 with a double and a two-run home run in the seventh inning. It was Alcántara’s 12th home run of the year. He scored three times and drove in three runs total.

Right fielder Ezequiel Pagan went 3 for 5 with a double and one run scored.

First baseman Moises Ballesteros was 2 for 3 with a run and an RBI.

Third baseman Luis Verdugo went 2 for 3 with a walk and one run scored.

Check out this piece of baserunning by Alcántara on a single by Ballesteros.

And all four hits by Alcántara, including the home run. [VIdeo]

South Bend finishes the second-half with a 27-38 record, which put them in fifth-place in the six-team Midwest League West Division. Their record for the entire season was 57-73, which puts them in fourth place in the division.

Myrtle Beach Pelicans

The Myrtle Beach Pelicans bottled the Columbia Fireflies (Royals), 7-6.

Starter Erian Rodriguez put the Birds in an early hole, allowing three runs on five hits over three innings. Rodriguez did strike out six and he walked just one batter.

After Scarlyn Lebron gave up three runs in the fourth inning to put the Pelicans down 6-2. Sam Armstrong and Grayson Moore each tossed two scoreless innings to give them a chance to catch up. Then Starlyn Pichardo pitched a clean top of the ninth, striking out two. Pichardo got the win when the Pelicans scored in the bottom of the ninth.

Shortstop Jefferson Rojas led off the bottom of the ninth with an infield single and went to second on a throwing error by the pitcher. The next batter up, DH Pedro Ramirez, doubled him home for the walk-off win.

Rojas was 3 for 5. Ramirez was 1 for 4 with a walk.

Third baseman Jonathon Long hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning to tie the game up 6-6. It was Long’s seventh home run this year and sixth with the Birds. Long went 1 for 4.

First baseman Brian Kalmer went 3 for 4 with a two-run single in the third inning. He scored twice. Kalmer finishes his first regular season hitting .358 with ten home runs in 32 games in Low-A.

Catcher Malcom Quintero was 2 for 3 with a walk and an RBI single. He also scored one run.

The Pelicans finished the second half with a record of 36-29, good for second place in the Carolina League South Division. However, they qualified for the playoffs by winning the first half and they had a 77-55 overall record, which was the best in the Carolina League. The Birds will play the Charleston River Dogs in a best-of-three series, starting on Tuesday in Charleston. Game two and three (if necessary), will be in Myrtle Beach on Thursday and Friday.