Kevin McGonigle walks it off for Lakeland to hold the divisional lead

Bless You Boys

Iowa Cubs 4, Toledo Mud Hens 2 (box)(Fri)

Iowa Cubs 5, Toledo Mud Hens 4 (F/10)(box)(Sat)

Toledo Mud Hens 6, Iowa Cubs 3 (box)(Sun)

The Mud Hens needed a victory on Sunday to split the series in Iowa with the Cubs. A good game for the offense got it done after a pair of mediocre days at the plate.

Bryan Sammons gave the Hens a pretty solid outing on Friday, but the offense was held in check.

Spencer Torkelson launched a solo shot in the first inning to give the Hens a quick 1-0 lead. Sammons allowed the Cubs to tie it up in the second, but in the third, Andrew Navigato tripled and scored on a Parker Meadows line drive single to make it 2-1 Hens.

Sammons trouble in this one was the long ball. He surrendered a solo shot in the second, and in the third wild pitched a runner home from third before allowing another solo home run as the Cubs took a 3-2 lead. Andrew Magno allowed a solo shot in the eighth and the Hens just couldn’t get anything going against the Cubs bullpen.

Torkelson: 2-4, R, RBI, HR

Navigato: 2-2, R, 3B, BB

Dingler: 1-4, 2B, K

Sammons (L, 4-3): 5.2 IP, 3 ER, 6 H, BB, 8 K

The Hens lost another close one on Saturday, this time in 10 innings.

Matt Manning gave the Hens a decent outing, allowing two runs over five innings of work, but only struck out one hitter as trouble with his secondary stuff persists. He allowed a two-run shot to Alexander Canario in the second inning to give the Cubs a 2-0 lead.

In the third, Ryan Kreidler launched his first home run of the season, a solo shot to left at 106 mph. Unroe walked and stole second, scoring on a Meadows single to tie the game at 2-2.

That’s where things stayed until the sixth. The Hens had a rally brewing in the fifth until Torkelson grounded into a double play, but in the sixth Jace Jung led off with a double, and Bligh Madris launched a two-run shot to make it 4-2 Hens.

Unfortunately, Bryce Tassin took over from Manning in the sixth, and he too allowed a two-run shot to Alexander Canario. Keep an eye on Alexander Canario, is what we’re saying here.

The Hens had a few opportunities the rest of the way but couldn’t come up with the big knock. Devin Sweet locked down the ninth inning, but in the top of the tenth, Unroe walked, but Meadows and Torkelson flew out and Jung struck out to send it to the bottom half, where Sweet allowed the game winning run.

Kreidler: 2-3, R, RBI, HR, K, SB

Madris: 1-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, K

Manning: 5.0 IP, 2 ER, 4 H, BB, K

On Sunday, the Hens needed a victory for a series split. They started off well as Spencer Torkelson walked with one out in the first and Jace Jung followed with a double. A Dillon Dingler ground out made it 1-0 Hens.

Lael Lockhart Jr. wasn’t his best in this one, allowing a pair of homers and three runs total in four innings of work. That pesky Alexander Canario launched a two-run shot in the top of the fourth inning. Dillon Dingler launched a solo shot to right center field at 105 mph, so it was 3-2 Cubs after four innings. Andrew Magno and Alex Lange played stopper in the fifth and sixth, and the Hens rallied in the sixth.

Dingler led off the inning with a walk and a Ryan Vilade single and an error scored Dingler. Eddys Leonard singled Vilade to third and a Ryan Kreidler single scored Vilade to make it 4-3 Hens.

Easton Lucas handled the seventh and eighth, while Trey Wingenter closed it out without issue for his second save. The Hens had added on a pair of runs in the top of the ninth on a Torkelson double, a Jung single, and a Vilade double.

Jung: 3-5, 2B, K

Torkelson: 1-3, 2 R, 2B, 2 BB, K

Dingler: 1-4, 3 R, 3 RBI, HR, BB

Lockhart: 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, BB, 2 K

Coming Up Next: The Hens welcome in the Omaha Storm Chasers for six starting at 7:05 p.m. ET on Tuesday night.

New Hampshire Fisher Cats 4, Erie SeaWolves 1 (box)(Fri)

Erie SeaWolves 10, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 5 (box)(Sat)

Erie SeaWolves 4, New Hampshire Fisher Cats 1 (box)(Sun)

Coming into the weekend down two games to one, the SeaWolves won on Saturday and Sunday to split the home series.

Wilkel Hernandez struggled badly on Friday night, allowing three runs over five innings of work with five walks issued, and the offense just couldn’t get anything going.

For four innings, Hernandez held the Fisher Cats scoreless and the game was a scoreless tie. Three walks allowed in the fourth inning showed him losing steam, however. They only escaped by cutting down the runner trying to score from third. In the bottom of the fourth, Carlos Mendoza led off with a triple but was cruelly stranded.

A walk, a single, and a three-run shot against Hernandez put the Fisher Cats up 3-0 in the fifth. Chris Meyers led off the bottom half with a double and later scored the SeaWolves only run. Adam Wolf gave up another run to the Fisher Cats in the eighth, and the SeaWolves didn’t get another runner to second until the bottom of the ninth, when Hao-Yu Lee and Trei Cruz led off with singles, and were stranded anyway. Just one of those days.

Lee: 2-3, BB

Meyers: 1-4, R, 2B

Hernandez (L, 2-2): 5.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 2 K

It was a much happier outcome on Saturday, as the SeaWolves pounded out 11 hits and got three home runs to down the Fisher Cats.

Garrett Burhenn got the start, and he struggled mightily in this one. The Fisher Cats scored two in the first, and three in the second against him. However, they were still behind at that point.

Hao-Yu Lee remains red hot over the past month, and he got Erie started with a one-out single in the bottom of the first. He took second on a passed ball, and stole third as Trei Cruz struck out. Jake Holton then crunched a two-run shot to right center field to tie the game 2-2.

In the bottom of the second, Ben Malgeri led off with a single and stole second. Gage Workman popped out, but Julio E. Rodriguez is back and he singled in Malgeri. Austin Murr and Mendoza followed with singles to load the bases. Lee popped out, but a wild pitch, a walk to Cruz, and then a Holton two-run double made it 6-2 SeaWolves.

Murr doubled, moved to second on a Mendoza ground out, and scored on a passed ball in the fourth to make it 7-5.

Hao-Yu Lee launched his 10th homer in the sixth inning with Mendoza aboard to make it 9-5 SeaWolves. Holton then completed a massive day at the plate with another home run to make it 10-5.

Trevin Michael and Garrett Hill did a nice job each throwing two scoreless innings after Burhenn was knocked out after two. RJ Petit and PJ Poulin closed it out without issue.

Holton: 3-3, 2 R, 5 RBI, 2B, 2 HR, BB

Lee: 2-4, 2 R, 2 RBI, HR, BB, SB

Murr: 2-4, 2 R, 2B

Burhenn: 2.0 IP, 5 ER, 6 H, BB, 4 K

After a couple of shaky outings, Troy Melton got back on track with a strong start on Sunday as the SeaWolves won 4-1. The right-hander allowed a solo shot to open the scoring in the second inning, and the recent home run trouble remains a point of concern, but that was all he’d allow while punching out six Fisher Cats to one walk allowed over five innings of work.

Chris Meyers tied the game in the bottom of the second with a solo shot of his own. That’s number 10 on the year, as Meyers remains just a little bit interesting as a mashing first baseman possibility.

In the fifth, Julio E. Rodriguez hit his first home run on the year after missing a lot of time with injury. Carlos Mendoza walked with one out in the inning, and Malgeri singled him to third where he’d score on a Cruz ground out. 3-1 Erie.

In the sixth, Gage Workman walked, took second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Rodriguez single to reach the final score. The SeaWolves bullpen was outstanding, allowing just two hits and no walks over the final four frames with four strikeouts.

Rodriguez: 2-4, R, 2 RBI, HR, K

Mendoza: 1-3, R, 2 BB, SB

Meyers: 2-4, R, RBI, HR, K

Melton (W, 2-5): 5.0 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 6 K

Coming Up Next: The SeaWolves head out for six against the Altoona Curve after Monday’s off day.

South Bend Cubs 4, West Michigan Whitecaps 2 (F/10)(box)(Fri)

South Bend Cubs 10, West Michigan Whitecaps 1 (box)(Sat)

South Bend Cubs 4, West Michigan Whitecaps 3 (F/11)(box)(Sun)

After a good start to the series, the Cubs swept the final three games to take the set four games to two.

On Friday, lefty Joe Miller gave the Whitecaps a solid short outing, but the bats just couldn’t quite get it done as they built a slender early lead but couldn’t add on.

The ‘Caps struck first, as Roberto Campos led off the second inning with a double and Stephen Scott followed with a walk. Luke Gold doubled in Campos, and Scott eventually scored on a Danny Serretti sac fly.

Miller allowed a solo shot in the bottom half to cut the lead to 2-1 ‘Caps, and then there was very little offense. The Cubs had a few chances but were turned away until the seventh. Matt Merrill allowed a run in the seventh that tied the game.

Yosber Sanchez took over in the eighth and kept the Cubs off the board for two innings despite issuing three walks. In the tenth, the ‘Caps got mowed down by Cubs reliever Jose Romero who struck out the side. Chris Mauloni allowed a two-run walkoff home run in the bottom of the tenth to lose it.

Gold: 2-4, RBI, 2B, K

Campos: 1-4, R, 2B, 2 K

Miller: 3.0 IP, ER, 4 H, BB, 2 K

Carlos Marcano gave the ‘Caps a really good start on Saturday, but the bats were again very quiet. The right-handed sinkerballer allowed a pair of runs in the third, one courtesy of a Jim Jarvis throwing error at shortstop, but otherwise was strong, striking out nine to just one walk.

The Whitecaps got a run back in the fourth, when Jarvis walked, stole second, and scored on a Max Anderson single. That was all they’d get as they were held to four hits in this one.

Tanner Kohlhepp was absolutely shelled in the sixth and the seventh innings to put this well out of reach.

Anderson: 1-4, RBI

Marcano (L, 1-5): 5.0 IP, 2 R, ER, 4 H, BB, 9 K

Jaden Hamm struggled again in this one on Sunday. He allowed a pair of runs on three singles and a wild pitch in the first inning. The ‘Caps missed a chance in the second as Stephen Scott led off with a double and Campos singled with one out. Peyton Graham was then hit by a pitch to load the bases, but Serretti flew out and Dom Johnson grounded out to end the threat.

In the third, Jim Jarvis led off with a single and then stole second and third, but again the ‘Caps couldn’t push the run across. Finally in the fourth, Roberto Campos crushed a solo shot, his fifth homer of the year, to make it 2-1 Cubs. Hamm then allowed a solo shot in the bottom half to make it 3-1 Cubs.

In the sixth, the ‘Caps finally tied things up. Luis Santana walked with one out and Campos ripped a double the opposite way. Peyton Graham singled in Santana, and on a double steal, Campos scored as Graham was thrown out at second for a 3-3 tie.

Some poor baserunning squandered a potential rally in the seventh, and this eventually went to extras. Michael Bienlien kept the Cubs off the board in the ninth and tenth, but they couldn’t push across the runner on second in either the tenth or eleventh inning, and Yosber Sanchez allowed the runner to score as the Cubs walked it off again.

Campos: 3-5, 2 R, RBI, 2B, HR

Anderson: 2-5, 2 K

Hamm: 4.0 IP, 3 ER, 3 H, 0 BB, 6 K

Coming Up Next: The Whitecaps welcome in the Wisconsin Timber Rattlers for six starting at 6:35 p.m. ET on Tuesday.

Jupiter Hammerheads 6, Lakeland Flying Tigers 4 (box)(Fri)

Jupiter Hammerheads 6, Lakeland Flying Tigers 3 (box)(Sat)

Lakeland Flying Tigers 7, Jupiter Hammerheads 6 (box)(Sun)

Kevin McGonigle was the hero in Sundays’ contest, with a walkoff knock that won the series 4-2 and also pushed the Flying Tigers a game ahead of second place Clearwater in the West division.

The series started off with three straight wins, but the Hammerheads fought back on Friday night. Zack Lee allowed three runs in the first inning before settling into his outing a bit. In the bottom half of the first, Kevin McGonigle led off with a double and jogged home on a two-run shot from the recently returned catcher Eduardo Valencia. Lee then allowed a solo shot in the fourth before departing. He did strike out eight, but a pair of homers made for a rough day for the right-hander.

Cam Brown came on in relief and allowed a pair of runs in the sixth as Jupiter took a 6-2 lead. In the eighth, David Smith walked, stole second and third, and scored on a Daneurys De La Cruz single. In the ninth, Patrick Lee walked and took second on a wild pitch, scoring on a McGonigle line drive single to make it 6-4 Jupiter, where it ended.

McGonigle: 3-4, R, RBI, 2B, BB

Valencia: 1-3, R, 2 RBI, HR, K

Lee (L, 1-1): 5.0 IP, 4 ER, 9 H, 0 BB, 8 K

Andrew Sears had a little bit of a rough outing on Saturday. He issued five walks and was fortunate to hold Jupiter to two runs in four innings of work. Meanwhile the Flying Tigers offense missed a couple of early scoring chances. Patrick Lee launched a solo shot in the fifth to get them on the board.

Jupiter had a 2-1 lead at that point, but then racked up three runs against Blake Pivaroff in the sixth. Luke Stofel allowed a ninth inning run to make it 6-1. In the bottom of the ninth, Samuel Gil led off with a single and Valencia doubled him in. Daneurys De La Cruz walked, and with one out, Jose De La Cruz singled. Valencia scored on a ground out, but that was all they’d get as Lee struck out to end it.

Valencia: 3-4, R, RBI, 2B

Lee: 1-4, R, RBI, HR, 2 K

Sears (L, 1-2): 4.0 IP, 2 ER, 3 H, 5 BB, 5 K

Max Clark did much of the damage on Sunday, but it was McGonigle who came through clutch in the end.

Rayner Castillo continues to pitch really well and is primed to move well up prospect rankings of the system by mid-season. The hard-throwing 19-year-old spun five innings of one-run ball on Sunday. He wasn’t at his best, walking three and only striking out two, but he’s been really too much for most Low-A hitters to deal with.

Castillo allowed a first inning run, and then settled in well the next four innings. Clark tied things up in the third with his third homer of the season. Unfortunately, the offense went very quiet the next five innings while the Hammerheads beat up the Flying Tigers’ bullpen. It was 6-1 Jupiter entering the bottom of the ninth, but the magic was there for the home squad.

Clark and Valencia led off the inning with singles and Daneurys De La Cruz walked to load the bases. David Smith lifted a sac fly to score Clark, and Lee was hit by a pitch to re-load the bases with one out. The Hammerheads went back to the bullpen, but new reliever Delvis Alegre had no answers. Jose De La Cruz and Alvaro Gonzalez each singled and it was 6-5 Jupiter. Abel Bastidas lifted a sac fly to tie the game, and then the ninth hitter of the inning stepped to the dish in the form of Kevin McGonigle, who coolly smacked a shot through the right side to walk it off.

Clark: 3-4, 2 R, RBI, HR

Valencia: 2-4, R

Jose De La Cruz: 2-4, R, RBI

Castillo: 5.0 IP, ER, 3 H, 3 BB, 2 K

Coming Up Next: The Flying Tigers head out to Fort Myers for six this week looking to build on their slim lead in the division.

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