This season has included a lot of back-and-forth for outfielder Junior Lake, who has spent time at both Triple-A Iowa and with the Chicago Cubs. However, Wednesday afternoon was definitely a high-point for Lake, who lifted the Iowa Cubs to a walk-off win over the Nashville Sounds at Principal Park.
Rubi Silva led off the ninth against Ryan Cook with a single to center field. After back-to-back line-outs, the Cubs were down to their final out. Javier Baez delivered another single, giving Iowa (16-17) men at first and second with two away. Third baseman Christian Villanueva was hit by a pitch to load the bags and a bases-loaded walk to Mike Baxter cut the Nashville lead to 2-1.
It was then Lake’s time to shine as he ripped a base hit to right field, scoring Baez from third and pinch-runner Arismendy Alcantara from second to propel Iowa to a come-from-behind win.
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Thankfully, Iowa fared better against the Sounds relievers than they did starter Ryan Verdugo, who allowed just one hit in 4 1/3 innings. Nashville staked him to an early lead, scoring in the fourth on an RBI single off the bat of Ryan Roberts. The Sounds did not score again until the eighth, when they pushed across a second tally on a throwing error by Villanueva.
With a 1-for-4 afternoon, Baez’s average with Iowa sits at .264 on the year. Lake paced the offense with two hits and two runs batted in as the team’s designated hitter. The Cubs went just 1-for-3 with runners in scoring position, but it was enough to get the ‘W’.
Donn Roach, the Iowa starter, tossed seven innings of one-run ball, scattering four hits and striking out three. The right-hander has a minuscule 2.03 earned run average this season – and I personally believe he could get a look at the big league level in the near future as I talked about in a recent piece.