Des Moines, Iowa - Following a lengthy rain delay, the Iowa Cubs overcame a three-run deficit and rebounded after letting a ninth-inning lead slip away to defeat the Oklahoma City RedHawks, 5-4, in 11 innings Friday night at Principal Park.
Knotted a four runs apiece in the bottom of the 11th, Andrew Ely led off the inning with a bloop single to left field. After Jae-Hoon Ha moved Ely into scoring position, Elliot Soto stepped up next and delivered a game-winning base hit to right field off Jorge De Leon (3-3).
Soto brought a close to a long evening at Principal Park. The start of the game was delayed 15 minutes due to rain in the early evening and was again delayed by 1 hour and 19 minutes during the fourth inning. The game-winning run scored just a few minutes shy of 1 a.m.
The loss snapped the RedHawks' five-game winning streak, as the RedHawks (74-67) dropped their fourth consecutive extra-inning game. More importantly, Omaha defeated Colorado Springs Friday night, cutting the RedHawks' lead in first place in the American Northern Division to a half-game with three games remaining.
The RedHawks were able to send the game to extras after entering the ninth inning down 4-3. Preston Tucker led off with a single and was then replaced by pinch runner Ruben Sosa. Sosa stole second base and advanced to third on a throwing error by Iowa catcher Eli Whiteside. Domingo Santana then knotted the score with a RBI single.
The RedHawks had runners at second and third with two outs later in the inning. Max Stassi hit a broken-bat grounder to the left side of the infield. Iowa reliever Brian Schlitter sprinted off the mound, made a sliding stop, and threw to first base from his knees in time to record the final out.
It was one of many missed opportunities for the RedHawks, who left 14 runners on base. They went 3-for-15 with runners in scoring position and left 10 runners stranded in scoring position.
All seemed well early on for the RedHawks. It took all of two pitches for them to get on the board, as Jonathan Villar hit a leadoff home run to right-center field to give the RedHawks a quick lead.
Leading off the second inning, Santana followed suit, lifting a high fly ball that just cleared the right field fence for an opposite field home run. Santana's team-leading 16th dinger made it 2-0.
L.J. Hoes added to the lead with a RBI double in the fourth inning. Hoes sent a base hit into center field to score Santana, but no one was covering second base, allowing Hoes to take the extra base.
After RedHawks pitcher Nick Tropeano struck out Kris Bryant to start the bottom of the fourth, it began raining at Principal Park, prompting the delay. Tropeano would not return to the game once play resumed, and his night was finished after 3.1 scoreless innings.
The I-Cubs (71-70) tied the game in the fifth inning, due to some good fortune and some mistakes committed by the RedHawks. With one out, Ha blooped a RBI single to right field to make it 3-1.
With the bases loaded and one out, Ryan Kalish sent a grounder to third base, but Ronny Torreyes could not handle it. Two runs scored on the error to tie the game.
Still tied in the seventh, both team missed out on bases loaded opportunities to take the lead. The RedHawks rallied to load the bases in the top of the inning with two outs, but Carlos Perez grounded out to end the threat.
In the bottom of the inning, the I-Cubs packed the bases with one out. RedHawks reliever Patrick Urckfitz coaxed an inning-ending double play off the bat of Roberto Lopez to keep the game tied.
However, Iowa would jump in front in the eighth. With one out, Jonathan Mota reached base a fielding error by Joe Sclafani. Mota then stole second base and advanced to third on the play on a throwing error by Perez. Ely came up next and hit a sac fly to left field to give Iowa the lead.
Carlos Pimentel (4-9) earned the win for Iowa after throwing two scoreless innings.
The RedHawks look to rebound against Iowa Saturday night at 7:05 pm. Live coverage begins at 6:35 p.m. on AM 1340 "The Game," 1340thegame.com, or through the free iHeartRadio mobile app.