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May 24 Game Notes: Iowa Cubs @ Nashville Sounds

May 24, 2023

IOWA CUBS (26-17) @ NASHVILLE SOUNDS (23-22) Wednesday, May 24, 2023 • 6:35 PM • First Horizon Park • Nashville, TN RHP Riley Thompson (1-2, 6.53) vs. RHP Pedro Fernandez (1-2, 2.96)


Wednesday, May 24, 2023 • 6:35 PM • First Horizon Park • Nashville, TN

RHP Riley Thompson (1-2, 6.53) vs. RHP Pedro Fernandez (1-2, 2.96)

TONIGHT’S GAME: Iowa and Nashville are set to play game two of their six-game series tonight, with Riley Thompson taking the ball for the I-Cubs. Thompson is scheduled to make his first start since April 20 against Buffalo, when he threw five no-hit innings, striking out a career-high nine batters. Since that game, the righty has made six relief appearances for Iowa, walking at least one batter in five of the six and two or more in four of the six games. In nine games (three starts) this year, the Cubs’ No. 27 ranked prospect is 1-2 with a 6.53 ERA. On the other side, Pedro Fernandez is scheduled to make his sixth start of the year, pitching in his 11th game for the Sounds. Fernandez is 1-2 with a 2.96 ERA, allowing nine earned runs on 22 hits and 15 walks in 27.1 innings pitched. In those 27.1 innings, he has struck out 25 batters and held opponents to a .222 batting average against him.

TRIPLE THREAT: The I-Cubs racked up 10 hits in the 4-1 victory over Nashville last night and received production from a player in each third of the lineup. Jared Young, who batted third, Yonathan Perlaza, who batted sixth, and Sergio Alcántara, who batted ninth, all recorded multi-hit games. Young led the group going 3-for-5 with a run scored, while Perlaza went 2-for-4 with an RBI and Alcántara went 2-for-3. This trio of I-Cubs are no strangers to having multi-hit games either as it was Young’s sixth multi-hit performance this season, Perlaza’s seventh, and Alcántara’s 10th. After last night, Alcántara ranks second in multi-hit games on Iowa’s current roster, Perlaza is tied for third, and Young is tied for fifth. It was also the first time Young recorded three hits in a game this season.

LEADING THE WAY: Jake Slaughter hit a two-run home run in the seventh inning last night to give Iowa some insurance runs. His home run was his team-leading ninth this year and first since May 12. That home run on May 12 was his second in as many days against the Mud Hens and his sixth over a nine-game span from May 4 to May 12. From May 4-7 against Columbus, he hit four home runs including three in three straight games. Since that May 12 game, the infielder has cooled off considerably, hitting just .172 (5-for-29) with 10 strikeouts in eight games from May 13-21.

DARIUS GOES DEEP: It didn’t take long for the I-Cubs to get on the scoreboard in last night’s series opener as Darius Hill launched the very first pitch of the contest over the right field fence off Nashville starter Janson Junk. For Hill, the 2022 minor league hits leader, it was his first home run of the season and his first home run since August 12, 2022, when he hit one out against Louisville pitcher Jared Solomon. The home run also marked the first lead-off home run for Iowa in just over a month with Christopher Morel launching one out against Buffalo on April 21 of this year.

THOMPSON TIME: The Iowa pitching staff had a bit of shakeup with its expected starting rotation in the series against Nashville as tonight’s expected starter, Javier Assad, was called up to Chicago due to Nick Burdi suffering an injury. Stepping in for Assad will be Riley Thompson. The 26-year-old began the season in the starting rotation for Iowa and made three starts from April 7-20 before being moved to a bullpen role because of roster additions. In his three starts this season Thompson went 1-1 with a 2.77 ERA with five walks and 17 strikeouts. He had his best outing at the Triple-A level on April 20 against Buffalo when he tossed five scoreless, hitless innings and set a career-high in strikeouts with nine. Since making his first appearance out of the bullpen, something Thompson had not done in his professional career, on April 27 versus Louisville he holds a record of 0-1 with a 12.91 ERA, 10 walks allowed, and 11 strikeouts.

PITCHING PERFORMANCES: Iowa starter Caleb Kilian set the tone for the pitching staff in last night’s win with an impressive final line of five innings pitched, three hits allowed, one earned run, two walks, and a season-high six strikeouts. He was credited with the win and improved his record to stay undefeated at 3-0. After Kilian’s day was done, the bullpen followed suit and shutout the Nashville offense over the final four innings. The I-Cubs used four pitchers in relief last night with Brendon Little, Tyler Duffey, Bailey Horn, and Manuel Rodriguez. The quartet of arms gave up just two hits, four walks, and succeeded to strikeout six. With his scoreless ninth inning, Rodríguez was credited with his eighth save of the season, which has him sitting at the top of the saves leaderboard in the International League.

AGAINST NASHVILLE: The I-Cubs and Sounds will play game two of their six-game series tonight, with Iowa currently leading the series 1-0 after winning last night’s game by a score of 4-1. Last night’s contest was the first between the two teams since 2019, as Iowa snapped a one-game losing streak dating back to that season. With their win last night, the I-Cubs moved to 74-103 all-time on the road against the Sounds, while holding a 164-190 overall all-time record.

SHORT HOPS: With his 3-for-5 night last night, Jared Young extended his hitting streak to a season-long three games, he had reached a two-game hitting streak four times prior to last night…last night was Iowa’s first road win on a Tuesday this year, playing in just their second Tuesday road game due to their first three getting postponed due to weather…Iowa moved to 7-0 in games that Caleb Kilian starts, as he moved to 3-0 on the year…in games that Iowa allows three runs or less, they are now 15-0 entering tonight’s game.