Sunday Minor League Notes

It was a tale of two completely different stories at the top two levels of the Cubs' farm system Saturday night.<BR><BR> We begin our minor league report for this Sunday with the Triple-A Iowa Cubs, whose lucky number was three.

AAA-Iowa Cubs

DES MOINES, Iowa - The Iowa Cubs were three-hit Saturday night at Sec Taylor Stadium, losing 3-1 to the Colorado Springs Sky Sox. Former Cub Turk Wendell, making his first minor league rehab appearance for the Rockies' AAA affiliate, started and threw a scoreless first inning. Kip Bouknight (1-3) proceeded to toss six straight scoreless frames, giving up just one hit in that span.

Red-hot Brendan Harris recorded two of Iowa's three hits and has now hit safely in 16 of his last 17 games. Harris singled to lead off the fourth inning for the Cubs' first hit of the night. In the eighth, Calvin Murray came off the bench and hit a solo homerun for Iowa's only run. Iowa starter Ryan O'Malley went 5 1/3 innings, scattering two runs on three hits in his third start since being promoted from Daytona. O'Malley (0-2) gave up a pair of homeruns to Andy Tracy and Garrett Atkins en route to the loss.

NOTES: With Albuquerque splitting a doubleheader with Nashville Saturday, the Isotopes gain a half game on the Cubs in the Central Division standings of the Pacific Coast League and are now three back of Iowa. The Cubs and Sky Sox meet again Sunday at 1:05 CT.

AA-West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx

ZEBULON, N.C. - With the Cubs' AAA affiliate being kept in check all throughout the evening, it was a complete 180 for the AA club on Saturday night. The West Tennessee Diamond Jaxx snapped a three-game losing streak and topped the Carolina Mudcats, 9-0. Left-hander Renyel Pinto threw six masterful innings of shutout ball, allowing just one hit while striking out nine.

Pinto (6-4) retired the first 11 batters he faced and carried a no-hitter into the sixth before allowing a leadoff single to the pesky Billy Hall, who came up with Thursday night's game-winner in extra innings.

Ronny Cedeno homered twice and drove in four runs to lead the Jaxx offensive surge.

NOTES: Earlier in the day, the first place Mobile BayBears wrapped up the Southern League Western Division crown for the first half of the season by splitting a doubleheader with Montgomery. Jermaine Van Buren worked the ninth inning in relief for West Tenn. Van Buren, a former top prospect with the Rockies, has a 0.38 ERA in 22 relief appearances for the Jaxx. Speed demon Dwaine Bacon, the Jaxx leadoff hitter, finished 2/5 and has reached base safely in seven of his last eight games.

Class-A Daytona Cubs

VERO BEACH, Fla. – One night after Daytona clinched the Eastern Division for the first half of the Florida State League season, two seventh inning errors helped snap the Cubs' seven-game winning streak Saturday night at Holman Stadium in a 3-1 loss to the Vero Beach Dodgers. Buck Coats' throwing error on a ground ball to third preceded Sean Overholt's costly error on a grounder hit back up the middle to put two on with nobody out. Alex Requena hit a sac fly to center, scoring pinch-runner Brett Dowdy to break a 1-1 tie, and Dodgers prospect Delwyn Young added an RBI single later that same inning.

Overholt (0-1), the Cubs' 35th round draft pick out of the University of Utah a year ago, was charged with the loss in 2 1/3 innings of relief. Vero Beach's Clint Hosford, Richard Bartlette and Jose Diaz held the Cubs to just four hits on the evening, and none in their last three innings. Hosford started and tossed five innings of shutout ball, giving up three hits. Keith Butler's RBI sac fly in the sixth inning off Bartlett (3-2) scored Adam Greenberg for Daytona's only run.

Cubs starter Rocky Cherry turned in one of his best efforts to date this season. Cherry gave up a run on just four hits in 5 2/3 innings.

NOTES: The game lasted a quick 2 hours and 14 minutes despite rain and thundershowers engulfing the ballpark throughout the night. The Cubs officially close out the first half of league play Sunday night at 6:00 CT in Vero Beach.

Class Mid-A Lansing Lugnuts

LANSING, Mich. - Nineteen-year-old southpaw Justin Jones started and turned in one of his finest performances of the year Saturday night at Oldsmobile Park as the Lansing Lugnuts defeated the Battle Creek Yankees, 5-1. Jones (3-2) pitched five innings of shutout ball, allowing four hits plus eight strikeouts. The Lugnuts got on the board in the fifth inning on Chris Walker's infield single that scored Alberto Garcia.

Starting left fielder Tony McQuade, a 2003 draft pick out of Florida State, had a big night at the plate going 3/4 with a pair of RBI singles. Another member of the Cubs' 2003 draft, third baseman Drew Larsen, doubled and scored in the seventh on Walker's second RBI of the night--a sac fly to straight away center field.

NOTES: All but one Lansing starter recorded a hit. Starting DH Kevin Collins went 0/4 with three strikeouts. All-Star first baseman Brian Dopirak did not play, but has hit safely in 20 of his last 21 games. Collins and Dopirak are second and third in slugging percentage in the Midwest League, and are also tied for first in homeruns with 19. They will both start in the 2004 MWL All-Star game, which is slated for Tuesday night in Cedar Rapids, Iowa. Eight Lansing players will be in uniform for the game.

Class Low-A Boise Hawks

Boise, Id. - The Boise Hawks fell for the second straight night to open the season, losing 6-1 to the Spokane Indians Saturday. Former first round draft pick Luis Montanez tripled, singled, and scored the Hawks' only run on Anthony Granato's RBI single in the seventh inning.

Indians third baseman Travis Metcalf had a huge night, driving in five runs. Metcalf hit a two-run homer in the fourth off Hawks starter Yorkin Ferreras, and later added a three-run double in the fifth to put Spokane ahead, 5-0. Ferreras (0-1) would work 4 2/3 innings, giving up three runs on three hits.

Indians starter Justin Lensch (1-0) held the Cubs to just one hit - the triple by Montanez - in five scoreless innings. John Bannister worked three innings in relief for Spokane and at one point, he and Lensch combined to set down 17 of 18 Boise batters before Montanez singled to lead off the seventh.

Daytona Cubs playoff tickets go on sale Tuesday, July 6. Call the Cubs at 386-257-3172 to reserve yours today. The playoffs begin on September 7 with a best-of-three series. Daytona will open on the road before returning home on September 8. If necessary, game three would also be at Jackie Robinson Park, on September 9.

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