Cubs, ‘Cakes split doubleheader Wednesday
METAIRIE – Zac Gallen pitched 5 2/3 scoreless innings to carry the New Orleans Baby Cakes to a 5-0 shutout of the Iowa Cubs in game one of a doubleheader on Wednesday, before the I-Cubs answered behind Ian Rice’s three-run homer in the nightcap to earn a split, 7-4.
The reigning Pacific Coast League Pitcher of the Week, Gallen put in an early bid to repeat as the award winner by fanning six and limiting the Cubs to two hits. Though the right-hander issued his first walk of the season in 18 2/3 innings, he has held opponents to one run and five hits, good for a 0.48 ERA, while racking up 25 strikeouts.
Gallen (1-0) danced around baserunners in the first three frames before settling in to retire the final 11 batters he faced, including striking out the side in the fifth inning. R.J. Alvarez then came on to pick up his second four-out save in as many appearances.
The ‘Cakes gave Gallen all the run support he would need after just two batters. Monte Harrison led off with a single, and Isan Diaz followed with a home run which scraped over the center field wall, his second of the season.
New Orleans tacked on three insurance runs in the sixth, keyed by RBI singles from JT Riddle and Yadiel Rivera.
Duane Underwood, Jr. (0-2) took the loss despite limiting the Baby Cakes to two hits in 5 1/3 innings. He struck out seven and walked three.
The ‘Cakes got off to another quick start in game two thanks to another leadoff single from Harrison, who scored on Riddle’s double into the right field corner.
The lead was quickly eradicated, as Rice launched the first pitch he saw at the Triple-A level over the center field wall with a pair of runners on in the second, the first of his two hits.
The score held at 3-1 until the fifth, when back-to-back singles by Zach Borenstien and Phillip Evans scored a pair for the Cubs. They tacked on two more in the sixth off Dylan Lee to stretch their advantage to 7-1.
New Orleans plated three runs in their final at-bat, including two on a double by Gabriel Guerrero, who has four doubles in his last five games.
Alec Mills scattered eight hits in four innings for Iowa, then gave way to Matt Carasiti (1-0), who earned the win with three strikeouts in 1 1/3 innings.
Ben Meyer (0-2) gave up four hits and five runs – four earned – in 4 2/3 innings to take the defeat.
The teams wrap up the brief series on Thursday, with first pitch scheduled for 7 p.m.
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