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Iowa Cubs drop season opener to Memphis Redbirds, 7-4

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Iowa Falls To Memphis, 7-4

After jumping out to a 4-1 lead early on, the Iowa Cubs stumbled late, allowing five runs from the fifth inning on – falling to the rival Memphis Redbirds by a 7-4 final in the first game of the 2015 season.

The deciding blow in the contest came in the bottom of the seventh, when St. Louis prospect Scott Moore drove in Piscotty with an RBI double off left-hander Dallas Britton (0-1) to put the Redbirds ahead by a 5-4 margin. Memphis added two more runs later in the frame when Xavier Scruggs took Armando Rivera deep for his first homer of the year.

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Addison Russell and Kris Bryant, the two top-ranked prospects in the Chicago Cubs’ farm system, accounted for half of the team’s runs – with a pair of third-inning RBI singles against Memphis starter Marco Gonzales.

Outfielder Junior Lake rounded out the four-run frame with a two-run single to right, putting Iowa up 4-1 halfway through the third.

Memphis (1-0) answered back in the bottom of the frame, pushing across a run on an RBI groundout off the bat of Stephen Piscotty. The Redbirds’ right fielder went 2-for-4 with an RBI on the night – one ofMemphis (1-0) answered back in the bottom of the frame, pushing across a run on

The Redbirds’ right fielder went 2-for-4 with an RBI on the night – one ofMemphis (1-0) answered back in the bottom of the frame, pushing across a run on an RBI groundout off the bat of Stephen Piscotty. The Redbirds’ right fielder went 2-for-4 with an RBI on the night – one of five Memphis players who recorded multiple hits in the series opener.

Iowa (0-1) saw its starter, Donn Roach, chased with one out in the sixth inning after allowing four earned on ten hits. He gave way to Britton, who inherited a runner on first with one out. He set down Rafael Ortega for the second out before tallying the third and final out of the inning on a fly-out to right field.

Roach’s counterpart Marco Gonzales allowed four runs in six innings of work before turning things over to the Memphis bullpen, who turned in three scoreless frames of work late in front of the home faithful. Nick Greenwood, who saw limited action with the big league club last year in St. Louis, earned his first win of the year after tossing 1 1/3 scoreless innings.

Russell was the only Cubs player to record multiple base hits on the night. As a team, Iowa struck out seven times – one of which was credited to third baseman Kris Bryant, who went 1-for-4 with a run scored in the loss.

What Stood Out:

The struggles of the bullpen stood in stark contrast to the work turned in by the big league relief corps early on this season. Britton, Rivera and Gonzalez Germen combined to allow three earned on three hits in 2 2/3 innings of work Thursday night. Germen, a right-hander who spent last season in the Mets organization, was the only arm to turn in a scoreless outing for the Cubs.

What’s Next:
Iowa (0-1) will head back to AutoZone Park in Memphis Friday night to take on the Redbirds (1-0). First pitch is slated for 7:05 p.m. CT.
Carlos Pimentel (0-0) will make his first start of the year for Iowa, and will be opposed by left-hander Tim Cooney (0-0), who went 14-6 with a 3.47 ERA last year with the Redbirds.

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