Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Ethan Hearn pivotal as Pelicans win in walkoff fashion for 2nd time this week; Pertuz, Piñango, and Wicks star as South Bend earns DH split

Daily Cubs Minors Recap: Ethan Hearn pivotal as Pelicans win in walkoff fashion for 2nd time this week; Pertuz, Piñango, and Wicks star as South Bend earns DH split

Ethan Hearn (Photo by Stephanie Lynn)

AAA

Toledo 8, Iowa 6

Game Recap

A day after Iowa rallied for three runs in the 9th in a comeback win Toledo turned the tables.

Iowa jumped out to a 3-0 lead but this one would ultimately turn into a back and forth affair. Three Cubs would homer and Dixon Machado was once again highly effective out of the leadoff spot.

It would come down to the 9th inning where Ben Leeper was called upon to nail down the victory. Leeper had come into the game with a runner on in the 8th, and gave up a double to the first batter he faced, but eventually got out of the inning with a pair of strikeouts and a one run lead still intact. The first batter he faced in the 9th took him deep however, and then one out later he would surrender a double and a walk.

From there the Cubs would bring in veteran James Bourque to try and preserve the tie. He’d strike out both batters he faced, unfortunately he also threw a couple of wild pitches while doing so, which allowed both runners he inherited to score.

Top Performers

Dixon Machado: 2-2, 2B, R, 3 BB, 3 SB (5, 6, 7) (.292)P.J. Higgins: 1-4, HR (1), R, 2 RBI, BB (.167)Narciso Crook: 1-4, HR (`1), 2 R, RBI, BB (.188)Levi Jordan: 1-4, HR (2), R, RBI (.200)Zach Davis: 1-3, RBI, SF, SB (2)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Dixon Machado reached base safely five times and stole 2+ bases out of the leadoff spot for the second time in the I-Cubs first 9 games.

It wasn’t Leeper’s best outing but he’s no longer flying under the radar:

Ben Leeper flew under the radar when he first signed with the Cubs as a non-drafted free agent.

But after a huge 2021 season, Leeper is now a prospect that everyone is paying attention to. https://t.co/1QoYwfFoWh

— Tommy Birch (@TommyBirch)

April 15, 2022

AA

Montgomery 5, Tennessee 2

Game Recap

It was a rough 1st inning for starter Cam Sanders. He did not have his control, as he allowed a single and walked three men before hitting the organizational pitch limit and being removed with two outs in the inning. Blake Whitney came on and allowed a bases clearing triple which put the Smokies behind 4-0. Whitney would put up four clean innings after that, but the damage was done.

Nelson Velazquez did crank his first homer of the season in what was a relatively quiet offensive day for Tennessee.

Nelson Velazquez blasted off for his first HR of the season tonight. Also blasted off the pitcher’s hat. pic.twitter.com/uM5ezrdIFZ

— Brad (@ballskwok)

April 15, 2022

Top Performers

Nelson Velazquez: 1-4, HR (1), R, RBI (.348)Darius Hill: 2-4 (.375)Harrison Wenson: 1-2, 2B, RBI, HBP (.222)Blake Whitney: 4.1 IP, 2 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 6 K (0.00

High-A

South Bend 7, Fort Wayne 2 (Game 1)

Fort Wayne 6, South Bend 2 (Game 2)

Game Recap

Fabian Pertuz had a rough 2021, but he’s gotten off to a fast start with South Bend this year, consistently making hard contact. The Cubs have a lot of young infield prospects and he is easy to overlook, especially given his paltry line last season (.223/.287/.308) but the 21-year old has utility man upside. In game one of the doubleheader he launched his second homer of the young season to help South Bend to victory.

The Cubs also received a strong outing from last season’s 1st rounder Jordan Wicks. He tossed 3.2 scoreless frames while reportedly working in the 93-95 range, showing good command, and mixing his pitches well.

Yohendrick Piñango also hit a long homer run in game one. He then joined Pertuz and Alexander Canario (who doubled twice on the day) as the only Cubs hitters to reach base in game two. Piñango walked once in each game, and already has three walks in his first five games, after drawing just 31 in 108 last season. If the 19-year old outfielder can add a bit more patience and power to his game in the coming years to go along with his advanced feel for making contact he becomes a very interesting player.

Top Performers

Jordan Wicks: 3.2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, BB, 5 K (0.00)Dalton Stambaugh: 2 IP, 3 H, 0 R, 0 BB, K (0.00)Fabian Pertuz: 2-5, HR (2), 2 R, 2 RBI, HBP (.286)Yohendrick Piñango: 2-6, HR (1), 3 R, RBI, 2 BB (.294)Alexander Canario: 2-5, 2 2B, R, 2 RBI, BB (.182) Scott McKeon: 1-2, RBI, 2 BB (.333)Owen Caissie: 1-3, 2 R, RBI, BB (.053)

Injuries, Updates, and Trends

Outfielder Jordan Nwogu has joined South Bend after a brief stint in EXST to begin the year.

Low-A

Myrtle Beach 3, Augusta 2

Game Recap

The Pelicans would make the most of their four hits on the night.

Down 2-0 in the 6th, Liam Spence hit a double to knock in a pair and tie the game. Tyler Schlaffer, Jose Gonzalez, and Adam Laskey combined to hold Augusta to just two runs on the night.

It all came down to the 9th. Catcher Ethan Hearn helped stop a potential GreenJackets rally in the top half by throwing out a runner at third base to end the inning. Pete Crow-Armstrong single to open the bottom half. A sac bunt and two walks followed to load the bases. After Reginald Preciado struck out, Hearn delivered once again, this time with a walk off single.

Top Performers

Liam Spence: 1-3, 2B, 2 RBI, SAC (.300)Pete Crow-Armstrong: 2-4, 2B, R (.250)Ethan Hearn: 1-4, RBI (.188)Tyler Schaffer: 4 IP, 2 H, R, 2 BB, 5 K (5.40)Jose Gonzalez: 3 IP, 3 H, R, 0 BB, 4 K (6.23)Adam Laskey: 2 IP, H, 0 R, BB, 0 K (W, 2-0, 0.00)

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