Storm Chasers outfielder Elier Hernandez clubbed two-run home runs in each game of Wednesday’s doubleheader, including a big fly as a pinch hitter in a 5-3 game one defeat, while Iowa designated hitter Ian Happ tallied four hits and drove in five runs in the Cubs’ 6-3 nightcap triumph as part of a twinbill sweep over Omaha at Werner Park.
Iowa clubbed three homers in the series opener, with 3B Robel Garcia ‘s second-inning solo shot opening the scoring. After Omaha 3B Erick Mejia evened the game with an RBI single in the third, the Cubs would immediately answer in the fourth via 1B Jim Adduci‘s three-run roundtripper to center to open up a 4-1 lead. C Taylor Davis ‘ solo blast in the fifth later extended that advantage to four before Hernandez homered in the seventh to cut the deficit to two, though the Storm Chasers were not able to close the distance any further.
Cubs starter Adbert Alzolay (5.0 IP, 3 H, R, ER, 0 BB, 6 K) earned his first victory of the year, while reliever Dillon Maples (0.1 IP, K) notched his first save. Omaha starter Heath Fillmyer (7.0 IP, 6 H, 5 R, 5 ER, 3 BB, 5 K) suffered the defeat in a seven-inning complete game effort.
Iowa would waste no time scoring in the nightcap, plating two in the opening frame thanks in part to Happ’s RBI double to right. Two innings later, Happ went deep with a two-run blast to double the margin to four prior to bringing across two more scores courtesy of a two-run single to right to make it 6-0. Hernandez then left the yard for the second time Wednesday in the bottom of the fourth to cut the deficit to 6-2. SS Offerman Collado ‘s sacrifice fly in the sixth later narrowed the Cubs’ lead to 6-3.
Happ (4-4, 2 R, 2 2B, HR, 5 RBI) collected four hits, including three extra-base hits, over four at-bats in the nightcap. Mejia, meanwhile, collected at least one knock in each contest, including a two-hit effort in game one, to up his hit streak to ten. Hernandez became the fifth Storm Chasers batter to homer in back-to-back games this year.
Cubs starter Colin Rea (5.0 IP, 7 H, 3 R, 3 ER, 4 BB, 3 K) earned his fifth victory, with righty Matt Carasiti notching a two-inning save. Omaha right-hander Kyle Zimmer (2.0 IP, 3 H, 2 R, 2 ER, 2 BB, 2 K) suffered the defeat, with southpaw Tim Hill (2.0 IP, H, 2 K) following with two shutout frames.
The two teams are set to continue their four-game set versus Iowa on Thursday evening, with first pitch scheduled for 6:35pm CT. Omaha is expected to give the ball to RHP Josh Staumont (0-2, 2.49), while Iowa is anticipated to send RHP Matt Swarmer (4-4, 5.15) to the hill.