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Pitching Paces Bats to 3-2 Victory

May 28, 2024 - International League (IL)
Louisville Bats News Release

LOUISVILLE, Kentucky - A pair of home runs provided all the offense, and six Louisville Bats pitchers combined on a gem for a 3-2 win over the Iowa Cubs in the opener of a six-game series on Tuesday night at Louisville Slugger Field.

The win improves Louisville's record to a season-high nine-games over .500 at 30-21 and puts them four games behind Omaha for first place in the International League with 23 games left in the first half of the season.

Making his second rehab start for Louisville, Cincinnati Reds lefty Brandon Williamson was in fine form early, retiring the Cubs on a couple ground outs and a fly out to center in the top of the first.

In the bottom of the inning, the Bats wasted no time in striking first off rehabbing Chicago Cubs lefty Jordan Wicks (L, 0-1). On the third pitch from Wicks, Louisville leadoff man Blake Dunn connected on a towering 414-foot solo home run to the deepest part of the ballpark in right-center, his fourth big fly of the year and second leadoff shot to put the home team up 1-0 early.

Williamson got an inning ending double play to erase a hit batter in the top of the second. In the third, back-to-back one-out walks put the Cubs in a position to get even. Pete Crow-Armstrong then laced a line drive toward second, where Bats second baseman Levi Jordan made a leaping catch and threw back to shortstop Livan Soto covering second base, doubling off Ali Sanchez to end the inning with the 1-0 lead intact.

Over three scoreless innings, Williamson allowed no hits while walking two and striking out one in a no-decision. Christian Roa was first out of the Louisville bullpen and picked up right where Williamson left off.

In the fourth, Roa set the Cubs down in order with a fly out to center, a ground out to second, and a strikeout. Iowa finally recorded a hit in the fifth, a one-out single from Owen Caissie. The runner wouldn't advance past first, as a fielder's choice ground out and a strikeout ended the inning.

An inning later, Iowa put the tying run on second with a walk and a wild pitch. Roa (W, 2-2) ended the threat by getting Alexander Canario to fly out to Peyton Burdick in center, ending a scoreless relief outing. In three innings, Roa gave up one hit and one walk while striking out two to hold the lead and earn the win.

Leading off the bottom of the sixth against Iowa reliever Dan Straily, Dunn laced his second hit of the day, a double, to the gap in left-center. Three hitters later, Conner Capel crushed his team-leading eighth home run of the season, a two-run, 383-foot blast onto the roof of the Humana Cabana in right field to extend the Louisville lead to 3-0.

Justin Bruihl needed only nine pitches to retire the Cubs in the seventh. Zach Maxwell wasn't as fortunate in the eighth. Making this third Triple-A appearance, the Louisville right quickly worked into a bases-loaded jam with two walks and a single. He struck out Crow-Armstrong for the first out before walking Miles Mastrobuoni to force in a run and bring an end to his outing.

With the tying and go-ahead runs on base and one out, the Bats turned to Brooks Kriske. On just his second pitch, Canario hit a slow ground ball to the shortstop Soto, who fielded the ball, stepped on second, and threw to first to complete an inning-ending double play and escape the major jam.

In the ninth, closer Tony Santillan (S, 11) also got into a jam after a leadoff home run from Matt Mervis made it a one-run game. After getting the first out, a single from Owen Caissie put the tying run on base. BJ Murray Jr. nearly turned the game around with a deep fly ball to left, but it was tracked down by Dunn on the warning track for the second out. Santillan wrapped up his Minor League Baseball-leading 11 th save of the season by striking out Sanchez.

Dunn and Capel led the charge offensively in the win. Dunn scored two of the three runs while Capel drove in two of three, going 1-for-2 with the two-run homer, two walks, and a stolen base. The one-run win for the Bats is their 12 th of the season.

The Bats (30-21) continue the series against the Cubs (23-29) on Wednesday night. First pitch at Louisville Slugger Field is scheduled for 6:35 p.m. Nick Curran and Jim Kelch will be on the call for 1450/96.1 WXVW.

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