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News, Notes and Game Recaps from May 22

South Bend smacked three homers and beat Lake County for the third straight game to open up a two-game lead. Iowa. Tennessee and Myrtle Beach all lost.

Pacific Coast League—AAA—Tacoma 8, Iowa 1

Tacoma slugged three homers to complete the four-game sweep over Iowa, extending their losing streak to seven.

Hitting Recap: Cubs only run came in the third when 3B David Bote (1-for-4) singled and scored on a double from CF Albert Almora (.331), who finished 3-for-4. 1B Daniel Vogelbach (.319) went 2-for-3 with a walk. 

Pitching Chart: Drew Rucinski gave up a pair of homers and allowed five runs over five innings on five hits and a walk. He threw 63 pitches and had a game score of 28. Scott Barnes allowed a run in 2.2 innings and Brandon Gomes surrendered two runs in 1.1 frames. C.J. Riefenhauser worked a 1-2-3 8th.

I-Cubs Notes: The I-Cubs get their first look at El Paso on Monday night at Principal Park. A starter has not been named but Stephen Fife is expected to join the team on Monday and could get the ball. The I-Cubs placed Fife on the DL April 15 with a left side strain. The 29-year-old missed all of 2015 after surgery and made two starts for the I-Cubs (0-1, 4.91 ERA, 7.1 IP, 4 ER, 4 BB, 6 K).

Southern League—AA—Game 1— Biloxi 5, Tennessee 0—9 innings; Game 2— Biloxi 6, Tennessee 5

The Shuckers scored five runs in the top of the 9th to take the opener and rallied with two sixth-inning runs in the nightcap.

Hitting Recap: GAME 1—Singles from Victor Caratini, Benjamin Carhart and Paul Blackburn was the offense in the opener..... GAME 2— Bijan Rademacher (.303) knocked in two runs and was on base three times with a single and two walks. Rademacher has been spending time at first in the last week after playing most of his minor league career in the outfield. C David Freitas plated a pair of runs with a double while SS Carlos Penalver (.229) went 2-for-4 with a run scored. 3B Jeimer Candelario (.222) was2-for-3 with a walk and a run scored. 

Pitching Chart: GAME 1— Paul Blackburn limited Biloxi to four singles over six scoreless frames to lower his ERA to 0.96. He threw 82 pitches, 55 for strikes and fanned four for a game score of 68. Blackburn has been the organization’s most successful pitcher over the first two months. Corey Black retired all six hitters he faced, five on strikes. David Garner walked two, gave up three hits and an error led to five runs in the ninth, two earned..... GAME 2— Tyler Skulina was in line of the win, allowing four runs on seven hits and four walks in five innings. He fanned two in the 97-pitch outing and had a game score of 35. Two walks, a sacrifice fly and a double gave Josh Conway his first blown save and his fifth loss. David Berg got the final out of the 6th and Juan Paniagua worked a 1-2-3 7th.

Smokies News: Brad Markey (4-1, 2.59 ERA) makes his 8th start for the Smokies. The Cubs 19th round pick in 2014, the former Virginia Tech product has been one of the few arms the Cubs have drafted that’s made a quick rise through the system. Not an overpowering pitcher, Markey features a sinking fastball at 88-92, a curve ball in the low 80s and a change-up in the 80-84 range. 

Carolina League—High A—Lynchburg 7, Myrtle Beach 4

Lynchburg (29-14) scored five times in the top of the 8th to beat the Pelicans (23-19).

Hitting Recap: Pelicans faced one of the Indians top prospects in left-hander Justus Sheffield, the Tribe’s first-round pick in 2014. The 20-year-old faced South Bend three times last year, allowing 12 runs in 14 innings on 14 hits. Sheffield blanked the Pelicans over the first fiv engines but didn’t make it out of the sixth, allowing three runs. Ian Happ plated the first run with a sacrifice fly and Yasiel Balaguert followed with a RBI double. Jeffrey Baez followed with a RBI single, chasing Sheffield. Baez added a solo homer in the 8th.

Pitching Chart: Jonathan Martinez was in line to get the win, holding the Hillcats to solo homer over 6.1 innings. He fanned a season-high six hitters and allowed five hits and one walk in the 92-pitch outing. Game score 64. James Pugliese (0-2, 6.92 ERA) got the final two outs of the 7th but allowed five runs in the 8th, three coming on a homer. Ryan McNeil yielded a run in the 9th on a hit and two walks. 

Pelicans News: Zach Hedges (3-4, 2.95 ERA, 1.18 WHIP) makes his 8th start and is coming off his worst outing of the year against Winston-Salem, allowing seven runs in 1.2 innings.

Midwest League—Low A—South Bend 6, Lake County 4

Eloy Jimenez, Eddy Martinez and Donnie Dewees all homered as the Cubs opened up a two-game lead over the Captains.

Hitting Recap: LF Eloy Jimenez (.327) is likely the MWL player of the week when the announcements come out on Monday. The 19-year-old smacked his sixth homer, fourth of week, to give South Bend a 2-0 lead. Extending his hitting streak to nine games, Jimenez is 11-for-24 with 5 R, 7 RBI, and 4 HR. RF Eddy Martinez (.220) connected for South Bend’s first-back-to-back homers to make it 3-0 and added a RBI groundout in the 3rd for a 4-0 lead. CF Donnie Dewees (.293) hit his second homer of the year in the 5th, a long drive over the right-field wall. DH P.J. Higgins (.282) added a RBI single in the 6th and finished 2-for-4 with two runs scored. Dewees went 2-for-5 and SS Andrew Ely (.313) had his seven-game hitting steak snapped, going 0-for-5.

Pitching Chart: Preston Morrison really doesn’t have the ideal delivery for a starter and may end up in the bullpen before long, but the movement he gets on his pitches is enough to keep him in the rotation. Throwing cross-body with a 3/4 arm slot, the 22-year-old blanked the Captains for the first three frames but a leadoff triple scored in the 4th. The first two hitters of the 5th reached but Morrison got the next three batters to end the threat. He finished the day after 79 pitches, 55 for strikes and had a line of 5 IP, 6 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 5 K, game score 55......LH John Williamson gave up a run over two innings and Greyfer Eregua allowed two to score over the final two frames. 

SB-Cubs News: Carson Sands (4-0, 3.26 ERA) makes his seventh start and the lefty has only allowed one earned run over his last three starts (16 IP). Sands features a fastball in the low 90s, a classic left-handers curve, and a developing circle change..... Andrew Ely has thrown his hat into the ring for MWL Player of the Week honors. Heading into Sunday’s game, he was 11-for-22 with five runs scored, two homers and seven knocked in......Cubs are putting on a bomb show in Lake County. In three games they’ve smacked eight homers—Ely (2), Jimenez (2), Rose (2), Dewees (1), Martinez (1).

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