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I-Cubs Drop Series Opener to Zephyrs

After being retired in order in the first inning, the Zephyrs jumped on RH Carlos Pimentel in the second, sending 10 batters to plate and scoring five times.

After being retired in order in the first inning, the Zephyrs jumped on RH Carlos Pimentel in the second, sending 10 batters to plate and scoring five times. First baseman Justin Bour extended his hitting streak to 13 games -- the longest in the PCL -- by leading off the frame with a long home run to right field. The big blow in the inning came off the bat of former Iowa and Chicago Cub Brian Bogusevic (3-for-5). He cleared the bases with a double into the left field corner after Pimentel walked the opposing pitcher, Adam Conley, to extend the inning.

The Cubs answered with four runs of their own in the second. Former Zephyrs Chris Coghlan and Chris Valaika singled ahead of a Christian Villanueva walk to load the bases with no outs. Shortstop Logan Watkins followed with a bloop two-run single to right field for his first RBIs of the season. Pimentel finished the Cubs scoring by picking up his second career hit and RBI -- lifting a soft line drive into right field.  

New Orleans scored twice more in the third inning on a home run to right-center field by catcher Kyle Skipworth (2-for-5, two runs) to take a 7-4 lead. It was Skipworth’s first homer of the year after hitting 11 in his first triple-A season last year.

Pimentel pitched a clean fourth and fifth inning but took the loss after giving up seven runs on six hits and issuing five walks over five innings.

Zephyrs starter LH Conley settled in after the four-run second and gave up just two baserunners -- one walk and one double -- over his final four innings in his first triple-A start on the road. He finished his outing allowing five hits and four runs while walking two and striking out eight over a season-high six innings in recording his first victory of the season

Yoanner Negrin and Marcus Hatley pitched the final four innings for Iowa. Negrin gave up New Orleans’ final run on a wild pitch in the eighth inning, the only run he allowed in 3.1 innings. The Zephyrs came into play with the second-lowest team batting average in the PCL, but have scored 22 runs over the past two games after scoring just 28 times in their first 11.  

The Cubs offense stalled after the second inning, registering just two hits the rest of the night. Valaika was the only Cub to have a multi-hit game, finishing 2-for-3 with a run scored. After an 0-for-6 start to the year, Valaika is hitting .412 (10-for-24) in his last eight games. Arismendy Alcantara’s team-best five-game hitting streak came to end. It was the only game this year that he didn’t hit safely in that he started.

The Cubs and Zephyrs continue their four-game series Wednesday afternoon as RH Kyle Hendricks (1-1, 5.40) faces RH Elih Villanueva (0-1, 3.00). First pitch from Principal Park is scheduled for 12:05. The game will be broadcast live on AM 940 and streamed live at iowacubs.com with the On-Deck Circle Pre-Game Show starting at 11:45.

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