The third run – the winning run – came when Mark Zagunis scored from third on a grounder to the left side off the bat of Pin-Chieh Chen in the bottom of the ninth. And that one almost wasn’t necessary.
Thanks to six great innings from Duane Underwood and two no-hit innings from David Garner, the Pelicans entered the ninth inning with a 2-1 lead. But David Berg gave up a single to start the inning, then a sac bunt to advance the runner, and then had a soft liner glance off his glove and sailed into center field. That let Wilmington tie the game, but a double play ball made sure they got nothing further.
Then came the ninth inning rally, and the Pelicans’ 3-2 win.
In the end, the Pelicans swept the Mills Cup Series 3-0 to claim the Carolina League Championship.
Performances of Note
- The final line for Duane Underwood: 6 IP, 1 R, 5 H, 7 K. He threw 85 pitches, 54 for strikes.
- David Garner finished his 2 innings of hitless work with 2 walks and 4 strikeouts. David Berg gave up a run on 2 hits in his inning of work.
- Pin-Chieh Chen hit the game winner in the ninth as he finished 3 for 5.
- Victor Caratini doubled and finished 2 for 3. Daniel Lockhart also added a double.
- Gleyber Torres walked, stole a base, scored a run, and finished 0 for 2 on the night.
- Whether we’re talking about the ball that glanced off Berg or Chen’s game winning single that pinballed past two defenders on the way to the outfield, the ninth inning in this game really was a strange one. If you missed watching it yourself, you can catch the highlights in the final Pelican’s Recap of the 2015 season on Youtube:
There are no more minor leagues games until 2016.
In the meantime, along with the Cubs’ charge into the Major League playoffs, we have the Arizona Fall League to look forward to. And then we have the Rule 5 draft to positively dread. There will likely be a lot of movement on the Cubs roster involving minor league players over the winter, including the high probability of another trade or two. Doubtless there will be some activity on the international free agent front as well. In short, whenever we are able to take our eyes off the Chicago team, we should have no shortage of activity affecting the farm system to talk about throughout the winter.
Then next spring we will get to see the two-championship winning bunch of players from the 2014 Kane County and 2015 Myrtle Beach teams move into Tennessee. We’ll also get to see the next wave of young hitters (led by Contreras, Almora, and McKinney) arrive in Iowa, and that very promising group of pitchers that worked for Eugene this season make regular appearances on MiLB.tv for South Bend. 2016 should be a very fun season for the Cubs’ farm system.
For now, though, my regular minor league coverage goes into hibernation for the rest of the major league season and the playoffs, but once the World Series is over articles will begin appearing again. There were a lot of good stories emerging in the farm system this season, so it promises to be an interesting winter of prospect analysis.
Thanks for reading, everyone. And here’s hoping that the minor leagues aren’t the only place the Cubs’ organization picks up a title this season.
[Brett: You are the man, Luke. Thanks for all that you do, and another great year of minor league coverage.]