Iowa powered ahead with a four-run first frame in a wire-to-wire victory, while Omaha first basemanTony Cruz recorded two hits and two RBI and pinch hitter Balbino Fuenmayor extended his hit streak to ten games as the Storm Chasers fell to the Cubs 8-3 on Sunday evening at Werner Park.
The I-Cubs struck first by plating four tallies, with all nine batters coming to bat. RF Juan Perez drove home the first score with an RBI single and C Taylor Davis’ two-run single to left extended the lead to three, before a wild pitch capped the four-spot in the opening frame.
Omaha would answer with a pair of runs in the bottom of the first. RF Jorge Bonifacio brought across his team-leading 64th RBI with a run-scoring base knock prior to a sacrifice fly from Cruz cut the deficit in half at 4-2. Iowa would add a tally in the fourth, with the Storm Chasers plating a run of their own in the sixth to keep the three-run margin. The I-Cubs would then cap their scoring with a trio of runs in the eighth, highlighted by RBI singles from SS Munenori Kawasaki and CF Albert Almora Jr.
Iowa starter Jake Buchanan (5.2 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 3 BB, 5 SO) earned the victory while falling one out short of a quality outing. Cubs relievers Armando Rivero (2.0 IP, H, 5 SO) and C.J. Riefenhauser(1.1 IP, H, SO) combined for the final 3.1 scoreless frames, while Omaha starter Alec Mills (1.0 IP, 4 H, 4 R, 4 ER, 2 BB, SO) suffered the defeat. Omaha’s bullpen trio of Benino Pruneda (2.0 IP, H, 2 SO),Andrew Edwards (2.0 IP, R, ER, 3 BB, 3 SO) and Kevin McCarthy (2.0 IP, BB, 3 SO) joined forces for eight strikeouts over the middle six scoreless frames.
Almora Jr. (2-5, R, RBI) and Perez (2-4, R, RBI, BB) each tallied two multi-hit efforts for the I-Cubs, while Cruz (2-3, 2B, 2 RBI) was the lone Storm Chasers batter to tally two knocks. Omaha Pinch hitterBalbino Fuenmayor roped a double into the left field corner in the ninth to extend his hit streak to ten games. The loss also snapped the Storm Chasers four-game win streak, falling one victory shy of matching the club’s longest win streak of 2016.
The two clubs are set to face off in the third game of their four-game set on Monday evening, with first pitch scheduled for 7:05 p.m. CT at Werner Park. LHP Jonathan Dziedzic (4-7, 4.38) is set to toe the rubber for Omaha, while LHP Rob Zastryzny (4-3, 4.71) is anticipated to take the hill for the Cubs