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September 17 Game Notes: Iowa at Omaha

September 17, 2021 - Triple-A East League (AAA East) - Iowa Cubs News Release

TONIGHT'S GAME: The I-Cubs will take on the Storm Chasers for game four of their six-game set tonight with a series-split already secured. They'll take the field tonight with a chance to take the series and extend their winning streak to four games, which would tie their season high. Put to the task will be righty Joe Biagini, who will make his fourth start and his fifth appearance against Omaha this season. Biagini is 3-7 with Iowa this year and has pitched to a 5.65 ERA (50ER/79.2IP) in 20 games, including 17 starts. He's 0-3 coming off a rough outing against Toledo that saw him complete only one inning while giving up six earned runs, but his two starts before that lasted a combined 10.2 innings with only one earned run. He'll face off with Brandon Barker for the Storm Chasers. Barker has made nine starts in 12 appearances this season for Omaha, going 1-3 with a 10.07 ERA (44ER/39.1IP). His last start was also rocky, as he pitched just 1.1 innings and gave up eight runs in St. Paul. Barker will be facing Iowa for the third time this season tonight. He is 0-1 against the I-Cubs so far.

DOUBLE THE DAMAGE: Abiatal Avelino and Brennen Davis went back-to-back in the seventh inning last night with a pair of solo home runs, marking the second night in a row with back-to-back homers for the I-Cubs. In Wednesday's game, it was Johneshwy Fargas and Levi Jordan who both went yard in the fifth inning. Not only have the I-Cubs now gone back-to-back in back-to-back games, they've also done it three times in the last week. In addition to the two games in Omaha, Trayce Thompson and Avelino hit back-to-back homers on September 9 against Toledo. That game was the first to feature back-to-back bombs by the I-Cubs since June 29, when Michael Hermosillo and Taylor Gushue launched a pair in Indianapolis. Hermosillo and Gushue were also the first two players to go back-to-back in 2021, meaning the I-Cubs hit back-to-back homers just once in their first 110 games before achieving the feat three more times in their last seven. With 13 games left this month, the I-Cubs have now hit 20 home runs in September - just seven off from their season high for a single month, which they set in July.

COMING UP BIG: For the second night in a row, Tyler Ladendorf gave Iowa some insurance, hitting another solo home run late in the game. On Wednesday night, with the I-Cubs up 5-4 in the ninth inning, Ladendorf hit a solo home to extend their lead to two. The Storm Chasers got a run of their own in the ninth, making his blast the eventual winning run. Last night, he homered late again, leading off the eighth with a solo home run to extend Iowa's lead to three runs. With his long ball last night, the infielder became just the eighth Iowa Cubs player this year to homer in back-to-back games. In the month of September, Ladendorf is hitting .333 for the I-Cubs, going 11-for-33 with a double, three home runs and seven runs batted in in his 10 games. 25% (3-of-12) of his multi hit games this year have come in September, including back-to-back multi-hit games for the first time since July 8-9 against St. Paul. Ladendorf has the chance to record three multi-hit efforts in a row tonight for the first time all season.

BAD COMPANY: Both of tonight's starting pitchers are coming off outings they'd probably rather forget and facing a team they haven't had much luck against. Joe Biagini and Brandon Barker each started last Saturday's game for their team - games the Storm Chasers and I-Cubs both ended up losing 21-4. Biagini lasted just one inning in his start against Toledo, during which he surrendered six earned runs on five hits, including three home runs. Barker didn't fare any better in St. Paul, as he lasted 1.1 innings but gave up eight earned runs on nine hits, three of which were home runs. The eight runs marked a new season high for Barker, and both pitchers set new season highs in home runs allowed with three. Biagini and Barker will both be looking to rebound in tonight's game, but neither one has won a game against their respective opponent. Biagini is 0-3 with a 10.91 ERA (19ER/15.2IP) in four outings against Omaha, and Barker is 0-1 with a 10.38 mark (10ER/8.2IP) in two starts against Iowa. Both pitchers have allowed at least three earned runs in each of their outings against the other team, and both teams have gone on to lose all of the games each pitcher has appeared in.

THREE-PEAT: Brennen Davis joined the I-Cubs with a bang on Tuesday evening, and he hasn't slowed down since. The Cubs No. 1 prospect went 2-for-4 with a home run last night, collecting his third straight multi-hit game since being promoted from Double-A Tennessee. With three games in the books with Iowa, Davis is now 6-for-13 with three home runs, five RBI, five runs scored, and a walk. Those numbers are good for a .462 average and a 1.654 OPS for the outfielder. Though he's played in just three out of Iowa's 14 games so far in September, he's tied for the home run lead this month among active players, matching Abiatal Avelino and Tyler Ladendorf. His five RBI are third this month behind Avelino (8) and Ladendorf (7), and the 16 total bases he's collected so far this series are fourth in September behind Avelino (23), Ladendorf (21), and Greg Deichmann (17).

A BIG OPPORTUNITY: There is a lot on the line in tonight's game for Iowa, currently on a three-game winning streak for just the sixth time this season. Their season long winning streak sits at four games, accomplished back on May 16-21 when they took the last game of a series against St. Paul and the first three of a series against the Storm Chasers. After that four-game winning streak, Iowa went on to lose 16 of their next 17 games, setting their season long losing streak at nine games. With a win tonight, the I-Cubs could tie their season long streak of four wins in a row, officially win the series against Omaha and win their 50th game of the year. With a win, they would also move to an even .500 on the road this year, with a record of 28-29 entering the contest.

AGAINST OMAHA: Iowa closed the gap on the season series and took a one-game lead when they face-off against Omaha at Werner Park this year. With their 8-5 win last night, Iowa moved to 8-7 at Werner Park this year and 15-18 overall against the Storm Chasers. In their 33 games played this year, Omaha is out-scoring Iowa by seven runs, 184-177. They lead Iowa in the season series in home runs (64-41) and stolen bases (47-25), while the I-Cubs lead the Storm Chasers in team batting average (.251-.249) and doubles (49-44).

HUNG IN THERE: Iowa's starter last night, Matt Swarmer, battled through the first two innings and ended up having a good start by the end of his outing. In the first inning, Swarmer allowed two runs to score on just one hit. He walked three batters, including walking in a run, and allowed a sacrifice fly to give up his early lead the offense got him. In the second inning, the righty gave up two more hits including a home run, allowing all three of his earned runs in the first two frames. After that second inning, he cruised through his final three, allowing just two more hits while striking out six. After the first inning, Swarmer didn't walk a batter, and for the game he threw 60% (59-of-98) of his pitches for strikes.

SHORT HOPS: In his second game with Iowa last night, Jackson McClelland earned his first win with the team, tossing 1.2 innings of one-run ball...the I-Cubs are now just one-game under .500 on the road this year, while sitting 18 games under .500 (21-39) at every outing that Aneuris Rosario has recorded more than one out this year, he has at least one strikeout, including two or more strikeouts in six of those seven games.

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