Slaughter clutch as I-Cubs walk-off Columbus
Slaughter all smiles after the walk-off win

Slaughter clutch as I-Cubs walk-off Columbus

by - Senior Writer -

DES MOINES - After securing their first home opener win in over a decade, the team morale for Iowa was high as they took to the field for game two against Columbus on Saturday. With the offense being the name of the game on Friday, it was about the pitching on Saturday as the Cubs staff struck out 14 Clippers and allowed just three runs in the 4-3 extra-inning win.

Nick Neidert took the ball for Iowa and got the start giving Marty Peavy a short, but good outing. Neidert struggled with his command, walking four and striking out three, but he limited the damage as best as he could to help set things up for the offense. Neidert allowed two runs, but only one was earned as the combination of Brendan Little, Manuel Rodriguez, Jeremiah Estrada, Cam Sanders, and Tyler Duffey were impressive in their six innings of work.

After the Iowa offense went on a rampage to score 11 runs in the game's first four innings on Friday, things were much quieter on Saturday as neither team got much of anything going in the first three innings. That was until the fourth, when the Clippers finally got to Neidert and chased him from the game.

After a David Frye double started the fourth, he advanced to third on the Zack Collins single and then came in to score on a passed ball to put Columbus up 1-0. Roman Quinn followed that up with a walk to keep the pressure on while the Tyler Freeman single extended the Clippers lead to 2-0. That would be it offensively for several innings as the Cubs took over and began to shut the Clippers down.

Limiting the damage in the fourth inning was crucial for Iowa, giving them a chance to battle back. They did that in the fifth inning with Bryce Windham picking up an RBI single to put Iowa on the board, while Matt Mervis added a sacrifice fly to tie things up. That 2-2 score remained intact until the ninth inning when the Clippers started to mount a rally off of Rodriguez.

Once again, a leadoff baserunner got the party started, with Freeman picking up the leadoff single to get things going. Two batters later saw Micah Pries come through with a double to put a pair of runners in scoring position and just one out.

Needing a big pitch to limit the damage, Rodriguez got Brayan Rocchio to put the ball on the ground, but Freeman still came home to score to give Columbus the 3-2 lead. Rodriguez struck out Jhonkensy Noel to end the inning, but the damage was done with Iowa trailing by one and just three outs to go.

Putting the leadoff man on base would be huge if the Cubs wanted an opportunity to come back and walk things off. Yonathan Perlaza took that to heart and led the bottom of the ninth off by reaching base via an error. Perlaza would eventually steal second base, but after a Christopher Morel strikeout, the Cubs were down to their final out.

That set the stage for David Bote, who came through with a massive RBI double to tie things up 3-3 and kept Iowa in a position to win the game with another hit. That hit never came as Mervis struck out to end the frame and sent the game into extra innings.

In the extra frame, it was time for Duffey to enter the game, as he was tasked with keeping Columbus in check. The mission was accomplished with a strikeout and two flyouts later, as it was now up to the Cubs and their bats to go to work. Nelson Velazquez made things easier as his single put runners on first and third with no outs.

Needing, at worst, a fly ball to win this game, it was Jake Slaughter who delivered as his sacrifice fly brought home Mervis and lifted the Cubs to the 4-3 walk-off win.

Iowa and Columbus will meet for the third and final game of their three-game series tomorrow, with first pitch scheduled for 1:08 PM from Principal Park.

The Cubs had eight hits in the game, with Bote and Windham leading the way with two.

POSTGAME NOTES (courtesy: I-Cubs)

In his first career Triple-A game, Bryce Windham went 2-for-3 with an RBI hitting out of the eight-hole. Windham hit .202 in 79 games with Tennessee in 2022.

After striking out 13 times in last nightÔÇÖs win, the I-Cubs offense struck out 15 more times tonight, making it 28 strikeouts in their first two games.

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