ROUND ROCK, Texas – The Round Rock Express suffered their first shutout defeat of the 2016 campaign Saturday evening as the Iowa Cubs collected a 7-0 win. Express RHP Chi Chi Gonzalez (0-2, 8.00) took the defeat after allowing five runs on seven hits in four innings on the hill.
For the Cubs, LHP Scott Barnes (1-1, 2.57) collected his first win of the season after a relief effort in which he notched four strikeouts while allowing just one baserunner in 2.1 innings of work.
The two teams battled to a scoreless draw through the first three innings of play before the Cubs (4-6) dropped a five-spot on the Express (6-4) in the fourth inning. LF Ryan Kalish led off the inning with a grounder that scorched the infield resulting in a double. A single off the bat of 1B Tim Federowiczmoved Kalish to third before 3B Kristopher Negron laid down a sacrifice bunt that scored the left fielder.
A bunt from SS Munenori Kawasaki resulted in Federowicz being tagged out at third base. A one-out triple from RF John Andreoli tripled the lead as both Negron and Kawasaki came around to score on the play. 2B Logan Watkins singled to drive home Andreoli before a two-out double off the bat of DH Dan Vogelbach scored Watkins. Almora would fly out to close the inning but the damage was done as the Cubs carried a 5-0 lead into the bottom of the frame.
Iowa would add their sixth of the game in the sixth as C Willson Contreras smacked a one-out double into right field before scoring on a single from Vogelbach.
On a night when periodic rain dampened an otherwise festive scene at Dell Diamond, the Express bats managed just five hits against Iowa’s pitching staff. RF Jared Hoying was the only Round Rock hitter to collect multiple knocks, finishing the game 2-3 with a strikeout. A Jurickson Profar double represented the only extra-base hit for the E-Train.
The meat of the Round Rock bullpen did their part to limit any further damage by the Cubs as LHP Chad Smith and RHP Burke Badenhop combined to allow only one run on six hits over four innings. RHP Jefri Hernandez would give up Iowa’s seventh and final run of the evening in the ninth. Almora and Kalish opened the inning with singles before Federowicz drew a walk. A ground ball double play off the bat of Negron scored Almora.
This weekend’s home opening series continues tomorrow afternoon as RHP Phil Klein (0-0, 0.00)makes his season debut for the E-Train. The Cubs will counter with RHP Ryan Williams (0-1, 7.88). First pitch on Sunday’s H-E-B Kid’s Day is set for 1:05 p.m.