By RENALDO DORSETT
Tribune Sports Reporter
BJ Murray and his South Bend Cubs continued their dominant second half into the postseason and are one win away from the Midwest League championship series.
The Cubs took game one of the best-of-three West Division series 2-1 over the Cedar Rapids Kernels Tuesday night at Four Winds Field in South Bend, Indiana.
The Cubs were the second half West Division leaders, while the Kernels won the first half. Both teams finished tied for first place for the year-end division standings. They wrapped up the regular season with a five-game series prior to the playoffs.
Murray hit .421 in that series, highlighted by a 3-4 night with two runs in the finale. If South Bend moves to the final round, they would host Game 1 of the three-game championship set at Four Winds Field on September 18.
The 22-year-old infielder has made a successful transition to High-A baseball and his progression within the Chicago Cubs organisation.
Since the start of July, Murray is one of only two players in the Midwest League with a batting average over .300 and an on-base percentage over .400. Through 56 games with South Bend, Murray is hitting .273, slugging .406, with a .794 OPS, with 51 hits, 22 runs scored, eight doubles, five home runs, 28 RBI and eight stolen bases.
Murray began his 2022 season at the Low-A level with the Myrtle Beach Pelicans before he was promoted on June 14.
In 39 games with the club, he hit .305, slugged .461 with a .902 OPS, 39 hits, including three home runs, 11 doubles, 31 runs scored and 25 RBI.
Murray was selected by the Cubs out of Florida Atlantic University with the 22nd pick in the 15th round, no. 454 overall in the 2021 MLB Draft. He spent his first season of pro baseball in the Arizona Complex League.
Through 16 ACL games, he hit .286, slugging .482 with a .826 OPS, 16 hits, including two home runs, three doubles, a triple, 12 runs scored and eight RBI.