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September 21 Game Notes: Iowa Cubs @ Louisville Bats

September 21, 2023

IOWA CUBS (81-62) @ LOUISVILLE BATS (72-72) Thursday, September 21 • 5:35 PM CT • Louisville Slugger Field • Louisville, KY LHP Stephen Gonsalves (0-0, 6.43) vs. RHP Christian Roa (1-4, 5.66)


Thursday, September 21 • 5:35 PM CT • Louisville Slugger Field • Louisville, KY

LHP Stephen Gonsalves (0-0, 6.43) vs. RHP Christian Roa (1-4, 5.66)

TONIGHT’S GAME: After winning each of the first two games in Louisville, Iowa will look to earn at least a series split with a win tonight. They will send Stephen Gonsalves to the mound, set to make his fifth start in his 10th game with Iowa this year. Through his first nine games of the season, the southpaw is 0-0 with a 6.43 ERA, allowing 10 earned runs on nine hits and 16 walks, striking out 23 batters over 14.0 innings pitched. He has thrown one relief outing against the Bats this year, walking two over a scoreless inning. On the other side, Christian Roa will toe the rubber for Louisville, pitching in his 15th game (12th start) this year. Roa enters tonight’s game with a 1-4 record and a 5.66 ERA, allowing 35 earned runs on 57 hits and 44 walks over his 55.2 innings pitched. The right-hander has struck out 75 batters over that span while opponents are hitting .263 against him. The 24-year-old has made one relief appearance against Iowa this year, allowing one earned run on three hits, a walk and five strikeouts over 3.0 innings pitched.

LEAVE IT TO LEVI: In yesterday’s victory over Louisville, the I-Cubs received an outstanding performance from infielder Levi Jordan. The 27-year-old had arguably the best game of his professional career and for sure his best game as an I-Cub as he went 2-for-4 at the plate with two runs scored, two home runs, and five RBI. Jordan’s pair of homers were his first of the 2023 season and came at opportune times for Iowa. His first home run against the Bats came in the top of the sixth and tied the game at 6-6 after Iowa had lost its 4-1 lead. The second long bomb of the day for Jordan was a three-run shot that added some important insurance for Iowa in the seventh frame. For Jordan, it was his first career game with multiple home runs and his 5 RBI also marked a career-high for the Puyallup, Washington native. His previous career-high for RBIs in a game came all the way back on April 28, 2019, when he recorded four as a member of the South Bend Cubs. On the year, Jordan has split time between Iowa and Tennessee but has seen limited action at the Triple-A level appearing in just 18 games. When playing for Iowa he is hitting at a clip of .189 (10-for-53) with a double, a triple, and 10 RBI.

EXTRA, EXTRA: In what has already been a record setting season for Iowa, the team broke another franchise record in its victory over Louisville yesterday. Coming into yesterday’s matinee against the Bats, the I-Cubs needed just one extra-base hit to eclipse the mark set by the 1998 squad at 524. The old mark was surpassed in a big way as Iowa recorded seven extra-base hits in the game. On the day, Iowa hit five home runs along with two doubles setting the season total at 531. The five homers hit by the I-Cubs were just two shy of tying their season high and the seven extra-base knocks were more hits than Louisville had in the entire game (6). With four games left in the season, the extra-base hits total will be something to watch to see how high the new mark will be set at.

STRUMPF’S SEPTEMBER: Another big bat in the game for Iowa yesterday was from infielder Chase Strumpf. The 25-year-old had himself a day against Louisville’s pitching going 3-for-4 at the dish with two runs scored, a double, a home run, and three RBI. Strumpf was just a triple shy of the cycle and recorded his second three-hit performance of the season. His other three-hit outing came on August 9 against Omaha when he went 3-for-4 with a pair of homers and seven RBI. The Atlanta, Georgia native has had his ups and downs at the Triple-A level this season but is currently having his best month as an I-Cub. Over the 13 games he has played this month, Strumpf is hitting at a clip of .286 (12-for-42) with eight runs scored, a double, three home runs, and seven RBI. His strikeout to walk ratio has greatly improved in September drawing 13 walks compared to 14 strikeouts and he has an on-base percentage of .455, which is his highest mark since joining Iowa this season.

GET IN THE ZONE: Iowa’s starter tonight, Stephen Gonsalves, comes into tonight’s game with an 0-0 record and a 6.43 ERA. The 6.43 ERA is slightly misleading, however, as the southpaw has given Iowa some really good innings. The 29-year-old was placed on Iowa’s injured list back on May 9, 2022, and started the 2023 season on the injured list as well. Working back from injury, he didn’t join Iowa’s roster until August 4 this season. Since then, he has pitched in nine games including making four starts for the I-Cubs, picking up innings wherever he can to help the club. In those nine games, opponents are hitting just .184 against Gonsalves, who has allowed just nine hits to the 66 total batters he has faced. The problem has been control for the six-foot-five left-hander, who has walked 16 batters over his 14.0 innings pitched, averaging more than one walk per inning pitched. He has walked two or more batters in six of his nine games including three free passes in three of those contests.

RELIEF WORK: After losing a 4-1 lead in the fifth inning of yesterday’s game, the I-Cubs went to their bullpen and got a big boost to help secure the win in the end. Iowa used four pitchers in relief against Louisville and the four arms combined to not allow a hit over 4.1 innings of work. The only blemishes from the bullpen were charged to Nick Burdi with a pair of walks and an earned run. Jeremiah Estrada was credited with his first win of the season after his inning and a third with two strikeouts. Meanwhile, Michael Rucker and Cam Sanders closed down the eighth and ninth innings respectively as the duo both recorded perfect 1-2-3 frames to end the game.

AGAINST LOUISVILLE: Iowa and Louisville will continue their series with game three of six tonight, as Iowa currently leads the series 2-0. Their win yesterday gave them a four-game lead over the Bats in the season series, at 9-5. With a win tonight, they would officially win the season series over Louisville as they enter play tonight four games up with four to go. Iowa went 7-5 in 12 games at Principal Park and are now 2-0 this year at Louisville Slugger Field. Their two wins also put them six games over the .500 mark against Louisville all-time, at 31-25, going 20-13 at home and now 11-12 on the road against the Bats.

SHORT HOPS: Iowa is currently tied with their season-long seven game winning streak coming in to tonight’s game with the chance to win eight in a row for the first time since May 1-7, 2019; they last won nine games straight from May 27 – June 5, 2016, against Albuquerque, Oklahoma City and Memphis…with 11 runs in yesterday’s win, Iowa now has 24 games this year scoring 10 or more runs, the most in a single season since at least 1998; the previous record with 22 games set back in 2004.