Long Ball Gets Iowa First Win of 2021
DES MOINES- After a night when Iowa registered just two hits and struck out 15 times, the offense exploded for eight runs in an 8-3 victory Wednesday night over the Indianapolis Indians.
Rafael Ortega got the scoring started for the I-Cubs with a solo home run in the bottom of the first. The Indians evened the score in the top of the third inning when Travis Swaggerty struck again with an RBI single, scoring Connor Kaiser for Swaggerty's third RBI of the series.
Swaggerty later came around to score on a bases loaded sacrifice fly off the bat of Will Craig. The 2-1 lead for Indianapolis didn't last long, as Ortega evened the score with his second solo shot of the game.
Just two batters later, Nick Martini smashed a solo homer of his own to give Iowa their lead right back. The offense slowed down through the middle innings and the game stayed locked at 3-2 until the eighth inning.
Dustin Fowler welcomed I-Cubs pitcher Jake Jewell into the game with a solo home run to lead off the eighth, knotting the game at three.
Iowa manufactured a run in the bottom of the inning with a pinch-hit single from Taylor Gushue that scored Martini. After an Ian Miller walk to load the bases, Abiatal Avelino provided some insurance with a grand slam.
Tommy Nance closed the game with a scoreless ninth inning, securing the first victory of the 2021 campaign for Iowa.
Rafael Ortega went 2-for-4 with two solo home runs in his first two plate appearances. In 2019, I-Cubs batters hit two home runs in a single game just five times.
Ben Holmes tossed five innings, allowing two earned runs on just three hits while walking four and striking out two.
The last Iowa Cubs grand slam came almost exactly a year ago, when Dixon Machado hit a grand slam on May 16, 2019 against New Orleans.
First pitch in game three of the series is set for 7:08 tomorrow night. Don't miss out on the first Mug Club promotion at Principal Park in 2021. For more information or tickets, visit www.iowacubs.com.
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