TONIGHT'S GAME: The Iowa Cubs and Omaha Storm Chasers play game two of a four-game series. The Storm Chasers are the Pacific Coast League affiliate of the Kansas City Royals. This is the sixth of eight road games in nine days for the Cubs. The Cubs are 2-3 on this current road swing after dropping a series against the Memphis Redbirds, April 20-23, at Auto Zone Park.
EARLY AND OFTEN: The Cubs scored six runs in the top of the first inning and beat the Storm Chasers 9-3 last night to open this series. The six-run first was Iowa's biggest inning of the season and the Cubs also set season-highs for runs, hits (15), men left on base (15) and walks (10). The Cubs also tied their season-high with nine walks issued for a total of 19 walks between the two teams in the game that lasted a season-high three hours and 40 minutes. RF Ryan Sweeney and LF Brent Lillibridge each had four hits to lead the Cubs. Sweeney launched a three-run homer and tripled in the ninth while setting a team-high with four RBI. Storm Chasers' starter Nate Adcock (2-1) didn't survive the first inning and has allowed 15 runs (13 earned) in four total innings in two career starts (both losses) against the Cubs.
RYAN IS RAKING: OF Ryan Sweeney recorded his first four-hit game since May 6 last season when he was 4-for-8 in a 17-inning game against Baltimore while playing for Boston. Sweeney has had two career five-hit games (one in the big leagues and one in the minors). Sweeney has hit in a team-high 11 straight games. During this streak, Sweeney is batting .390 (16-for-41) with a double, two triples, three home runs, 10 RBI, and five runs scored. Sweeney has hit safely in 13 of 14 games for the year and 12 of his 13 starts. His streak is the third-longest active hitting streak in the PCL. Corey Dickerson of Colorado Springs has hit safely in 16 straight games to lead the league and Roger Kieschnick of Fresno has hit in 12 straight. Sweeney ranks fourth in the league with a .404 average.
KEEPING PACE: OF Brian Bogusevic was 1-for-4 with two walks last night and extended his hitting streak to 10 games. During this streak, he is batting .441 (15-for-34) with four doubles, two RBI, eight runs scored, and four stolen bases. Bogusevic leads the team with eight multi-hit games. He is tied with former I-Cub Tyler Colvin for the fourth-longest current hitting streak in the league.
VS. OMAHA: The Cubs lead this series 1-0. This is the first of four scheduled series (16 total games) between these two clubs this year. The Cubs return to Werner Park, June 27-30. The Storm Chasers will visit Principal Park, June 14-17 and August 26-29. Last year, the Storm Chasers won the season series 9-7, but the teams split the eight games played at Werner Park. The Cubs are 9-8 all-time in Werner Park since it opened in 2011. Since these two franchises joined the PCL in 1998, Iowa leads the all-time series 123-117, but Omaha holds a 65-56 edge in their home games.
WALK IN THE PARK: 2B Logan Watkins drew four walks last night, one shy of the PCL record for walks in a game. Since the 2000 season, he is one of five Cubs to walk four times in a game. The last to do it was Jason Dubois on May 23, 2010 at Colorado Springs. Watkins is tied with Shane Peterson of Sacramento for the league lead with 20 walks this year.
BIG NIGHT FOR LIL: LF Bret Lillibridge tied a season-high with four hits last night. His last four-hit game was August 3, 2007 against Louisville while playing for Richmond in the Atlanta Braves organization. Last night was Lillibridge's fourth career four-hit game.
FEELING BULLISH: RH Esmailin Caridad (1-1) stranded two inherited runners in the fifth and pitched 2.1 scoreless innings to pick up the win last night. It was the first win for an Iowa reliever (1-3) this year. RH Rafael Dolis inherited the bases loaded in the eighth and stranded the runners before finishing the ninth for his first save since June 25 last year against Round Rock. In the last seven games, Cubs' relievers have posted a 1.90 ERA (5ER/23.2IP) including 26 strikeouts.
INJURY REPORT: 3B Ian Stewart joined the Cubs on a major league rehab assignment on Sunday, April 14. He missed most of spring training with a strained left quad. 3B Josh Vitters was placed on the disabled list on April 9 due to muscle spasms in his back. He is currently in Arizona playing in extended spring training games with hopes of a possible activation next week. IF/OF Tim Torres was placed on the disabled list on April 20 with a left calf strain. IF Donnie Murphy left Tuesday's game at Memphis after twisting his knee while making a fielding play at shorstop. He is day-to-day.