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May 14 Game Notes: Iowa vs. Omaha

May 14, 2022

IOWA CUBS (18-15) vs. OMAHA STORM CHASERS (15-18) Saturday, May 14, 2022 • 6:08 • Principal Park • Des Moines, IA RHP Cam Sanders (0-0, -.--) vs. RHP Jackson Kowar (0-3, 10.18)


Saturday, May 14, 2022 • 6:08 • Principal Park • Des Moines, IA

RHP Cam Sanders (0-0, -.--) vs. RHP Jackson Kowar (0-3, 10.18)

TONIGHT’S GAME: Cam Sanders will toe the rubber for Iowa tonight, looking to keep their winning streak alive. Sanders is set to make his Triple-A debut after getting assigned to Iowa on Tuesday, May 10. The righty went 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA in six starts with Double-A Tennessee prior to his promotion. Opposite of Sanders will be a familiar pitcher to Iowa, right-hander Jackson Kowar. Kowar made six starts against the I-Cubs last season, striking out 37 batters over his 26.1 innings. He is 0-3 with a 10.18 ERA through five starts this year with Omaha, allowing 23 earned runs on 32 hits over 20.1 innings pitched.

MAKING HISTORY: For the fourth consecutive game last night, Robel Garcia launched a home run, giving him five already this series. With his home run last night, he has now hit at least one home run in each of the first four games this series, including two in the series opener on Tuesday. Dating back to at least 2008, no player for Iowa has ever had a home run in four consecutive games. The most recent players to come close were Daniel Vogelbach, who hit a home run in three straight games in 2016, and both Josh Vitters and Kris Bryant who hit four home runs in three games in 2014. Dating back to 2008, four players have hit four home runs over a five-game stretch, but Garcia is the first to hit one in four straight games. With his five home runs this series, the 29-year-old has climbed to the top in multiple International League rankings. He now sits tied for sixth in home runs (8), 10th in on-base percentage (.408), first in slugging percentage (.675) and first in OPS (1.083). This series, Garcia is now hitting 7-for-16 with seven runs scored, a double, five home runs and eight runs batted in. His home run last night also extended his hitting streak to five games, his longest streak of the season so far.

ON HIS HEELS: Jared Young has held the team lead home runs since April 12 and both home runs and runs batted in since April 16. Last night, for the first time since April 12, he was tied for the team-lead in home runs when Robel Garcia hit a three-run shot in the bottom of the first inning. Both Young and Garcia had eight home runs until Young reclaimed the lead with a solo blast to tie the game in the bottom of the seventh. Young currently has six more hits than Garcia (29-23), one more home run (9-8) and one more run batted in (20-19). The two are tied for the team lead in doubles with five, while Garcia leads Young in walks (17-13), on-base percentage (.408-.364), slugging percentage (.675-.587) and OPS (1.083-.951).

KEEP IT GOING: With their walk-off win last night, Iowa has now won five games in a row dating back to their final game against St. Paul on Sunday. Five wins in a row marks their longest streak of the season, and longest in the past two years after winning four in a row twice in 2021. It is the longest streak of wins by an Iowa Cubs team since 2019, when they won five straight from June 25-29. The 2019 I-Cubs team also won eight straight games from May 1-7. Like the current streak this year’s team is on, both streaks in 2019 included four wins against Omaha. Over their current five-game stretch, Iowa has outscored their opponents by 17 runs, at 33-16. Iowa is now three games over the .500 mark at 18-15, the most games over .500 they have been all season.

NOT JUST THE DEFENSIVE CAPTAIN: It is often said that the catcher is the captain of the defense or the coach on the field during games. This series, Iowa’s catchers have been more impactful than just on the defensive side, combining to hit .600 (9-for-15) through four games. If you date back to Sunday’s game at St. Paul when their five-game winning streak started, Iowa backstops have combined to hit .632 (12-for-19). Tyler Payne started the hot hitting on Sunday at St. Paul with a 3-for-4 effort, scoring two runs and driving in one as well. He followed that up with 4-for-4 game in the first game of the current series against Omaha, driving in another run in that game. John Hicks went 1-for-4 with a double on Wednesday, followed by Erick Castillo delivering a 2-for-3 performance in Thursday’s game. Hicks went 2-for-4 with another double last night, providing a spark to the lineup out of the seven-hole. Through five games, Iowa’s catchers are hitting 12-for-19 with three runs scored, two doubles and three runs batted in. Payne, the one who got it all started on Sunday, will be behind the dish tonight looking to stay locked in.

A NEW LEVEL: Cam Sanders is set to make his Triple-A debut tonight, getting the start in game five against Omaha. Sanders started the year at Double-A Tennessee, going 1-1 with a 3.38 ERA over his six starts there. He spent all of last year with the Smokies as well, holding a 4-7 record with a 5.32 ERA in 18 starts. This year, the righty has struck out 36 compared to 11 walks over 24.0 innings, surrendering nine earned runs on 13 hits including three home runs. The 25-year-old was a 12th round draft pick by Chicago in 2018, the same year they selected Nico Hoerner and Brennen Davis with their first two picks.

WALK IT OFF: The I-Cubs kept their winning streak alive in dramatic fashion last night with a tenth-inning walk-off single from Nelson Velazquez. The win was the second walk-off of the series and the fourth of the season for Iowa. It was also the second extra-innings victory for the I-Cubs, who are now 2-1 in those matchups. With just one more walk-off, Iowa would match their season total from 2021. They’ve already passed up the 2019 squad, who walked off three times, and are halfway to matching the 2018 I-Cubs, who won eight games via the walk-off.

AGAINST OMAHA: Iowa and Omaha will play game five of their six-game series today, with Iowa clinching the series victory after winning each of the first four games between the two teams. With the series win, Iowa is now 2-2-2 through their first six series, with each of their two series victories coming at Principal Park. Iowa now holds the all-time advantage over Omaha in the I-80 rivalry with a record of 312-289, going 171-132 all-time at home.

SHORT HOPS: With their win last night, Iowa moved to 3-0 on the year with they are tied after eight innings…in his first game since May 6, Zach Davis snapped his six-game hitless streak with a 2-for-4 game out of the leadoff spot last night…Iowa set their season high for doubles in a game last night with six…Omaha stranded 13 runners last night, tying a season high by any I-Cubs opponent this year.