Joe Mather clubbed a three-run home run, Brett Jackson slugged his second home run in two days, and Jay Jackson threw three perfect innings, as two squads of Cubs played to a 3-3 tie in a five-inning intrasquad game played under sunny skies this afternoon at Dwight Patterson Field at HoHoKam Park in Mesa, AZ.
After reaching base four times yesterday on a solo a HR, a double, and two walks, B. Jackson picked-up right where he left off, ripping a HR into the upper bullpen beyond the RF fence off LHP Chris Rusin to give the Sveum Squad an early 1-0 lead. (B. Jackson’s HR yesterday also came off a LHP).
Joe Mather took Trey McNutt deep with a three-run dinger off the LF scoreboard in the bottom of the 4th to give the Sutcliffe Squad a 3-1 lead, but B-Jax drew a lead-off walk to spark a two-run rally in the top of the 5th that tied the score. Dave Sappelt (acquired from CIN in the Sean Marshall deal) followed Jackson’s base on balls with a line-drive RBI triple off the CF batter’s eye 410+ feet to straight-away center to score Jackson, and then after Adrian Cardenas walked, Anthony Rizzo lofted a sacrifice fly to left-center to score Sappelt with the tying run.
RHP Jay Jackson got the start for the Sveum Boys, and threw three innings of perfect baseball (1 K and a 4/4 GO/FO), efficiently mowing down the opposition on just 32 pitches (22 strikes).
The Sutcliffe Band of Brothers reversed their fortunes in the bottom of the 4th, however, as Tony Campana ignited the inning with a drag bunt single down the 1st base line. Campana just plain outran the defense, sliding head-first into 1st as 1B Anthony Rizzo made a desperation toss to 2B Bobby Scales covering at 1st base.
Once on base, Campana seemed to rattle pitcher Trey McNutt, eventually stealing 2nd base before Jim Adduci worked a walk on a 3-2 pitch. Campana was then caught red-handed halfway between 2nd & 3rd, but he somehow managed to survive the “hot box,” getting into a run-down before eventually jitterbugging past a defender and sliding into 3rd base amidst a cloud of dust. (Adduci moved-up to 2nd on the play), After Jae-Hoon Ha was called out on strikes on a close 3-2 pitch, Joe Mather sent a hanging McNutt slider high & far over the LF fence.
Matt Szczur followed up yesterday’s 3-4 six-RBI day by reaching base in both of his two plate appearances today, drawing two walks and showing a lot of patience and a good eye in the process.
No doubt the People’s Choice at HoHoKam Park right now is Tony Campana. The fans absolutely LOVE this guy. Besides his bunt single and the daring base-running, Campana also made a couple of eye-opening plays in the field this afternoon, running a half-mile and making a head-first diving attempt at catching a pop-up in foul territory down the LF line early in the game (a ball that Alfonso Soriano would not even have thought about chasing), and then rescuing CF Jae-Hoon Ha by running full-tilt to catch a fly ball in dead-center that Ha lost in the sun. I suppose it’s just his combination of hustle, spirit, and exuberance, but the fans cheer wildly every time Campana comes to the plate or gets on base.
I wouldn't be surprised if Campana ends up playing CF and hitting lead-off for the Cubs on Opening Day. What will happen to Marlon Byrd I cannot say, but Campana seems to be in the right place at the right time right now.
The Cubs play their first “official” Cactus League Spring Training game against the Oakland A’s in Mesa tomorrow afternoon. Rodrigo Lopez will is reportedly get the start.
There is no official scorer at Spring Training intrasquad games, so here is today’s unofficial box score:
SVEUM SQUAD LINEUP:
1. Dave Sappelt, CF: 1-3 (K, F-9, 3B, R, RBI)
2. Adrian Cardenas, 3B: 0-2 (F-8, L-7, BB)
3. Anthony Rizzo, 1B: 0-2 (F-9, K, F-7 SF, RBI)
4. Steve Clevenger, DH: 1-2 (1B, F-8)
5. Micah Gibbs, C: 1-2 (5-4-3 DP, 2B)
6. Jonathon Mota: SS: 0-1 (BB, L-8)
7. Matt Szczur, LF: 0-0 (BB, BB)
8. Bobby Scales, 2B: 0-2 (K, L-9)
9. Brett Jackson, RF: 1-1 (HR, BB, 2 R, RBI)
SUTCLIFFE SQUAD LINEUP:
1. Tony Campana, LF: 1-2 (4-3, 1B, R, SB)
2. Jim Adduci, RF: 0-1 (4-3, BB, R)
3. Jae-Hoon Ha, CF: 0-2 (F-7, K)
4. Joe Mather, 1B: 1-2 (5-3, HR, R, 3 RBI)
5. Welington Castillo, C: 0-2 (F-7, 5-3)
6. Edgar Gonzalez: SS: 1-2 (6-3, 1B)
7. Alfredo Amezaga, 2B: 0-2 (L-8, 4-6-3 DP)
8. Blake Lalli, DH: 0-1 (K)
9. Matt Tolbert, 3B: 0-1 (F-7)
SVEUM SQUAD PITCHERS:
1. Jay Jackson: 3.0 IP, 0 H, 0 R, 0 BB, 1 K, 32 pitches (22 strikes), 4/4 GO/FO
2. Trey McNutt: 1.1 IP, 3 H, 3 R (3 ER), 1 BB, 1 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 29 pitches (19 strikes), 3/0 GO/FO
NOTE: McNutt’s first inning was stopped with bases empty and one out when he reached his max pitch limit for that inning.
SUTCLIFFE SQUAD PITCHERS:
1. Chris Rusin: 3.0 IP, 2 H, 1 R (1 ER), 2 BB, 2 K, 1 HR, 1 GIDP, 54 pitches (29 strikes), 2/4 GO/FO
2. Alberto Cabrera: 1.1 IP, 2 H, 2 R (2 ER), 3 BB, 0 K, 43 pitches (22 strikes), 0/4 GO/FO
NOTE: Cabrera’s final inning was stopped with runner on 2nd base and one out when he reached his max pitch limit for the game.
SVEUM SQUAD ERRORS: NONE
SUTCLIFFE SQUAD ERRORS: (1)
P Chris Rusin E-1 - errant pick-off attempt at 2nd base allowed runners at 1st & 2nd to advance a base.
Micah Gibbs: 0-1 CS