RedHawks in Playoff Peril After Loss To Iowa

Sunday, August 31st 2014, 6:34 pm
By: News 9

The Iowa Cubs overcame two sizable deficits and scored six times in the eighth inning to send the Oklahoma City RedHawks to stunning 11-8 defeat Sunday afternoon at Principal Park.

The RedHawks (74-69) needed to win to ensure they stayed in the playoff picture. If Omaha beats Colorado Springs later tonight, the Storm Chasers will clinch the American Northern Division title.

The only way the RedHawks can make the playoffs is if Omaha loses both tonight and tomorrow, and the RedHawks win tomorrow as well.

Iowa (73-70) had already erased a four-run deficit earlier in the game when the I-Cubs came to the plate in the eighth inning, trailing 8-5.

Eli Whiteside started the rally with one out when he hit a solo home run. After a single by Jae-Hoon Ha, Elliot Soto sent a ground ball to Joe Sclafani, who then threw to second base. Jonathan Villar missed the catch, resulting in two runners aboard.

Junior Lake then hit a RBI double down the right field line to pull Iowa within one.

The RedHawks made a pitching change, as Patrick Urckfitz replaced Anthony Bass (0-2). Ryan Kalish hit the first pitch Urckfitz delivered over the left field fence for a go-ahead three-run homer.

Kalish homered for the second consecutive day, and half of his eight home runs this season have come at the expense of the RedHawks pitching staff.

Each of the next three batters reached safely as well, and Jonathan Mota capped the big inning with a RBI single to make it 11-8.

A shell-shocked RedHawks offense went down in order in the ninth against Marcos Mateo (3-0), who earned the win after pitching the final two innings.

In seven games at Principal Park this season, the RedHawks have lost three separate games after holding at least a three-run lead at one point. It's also the second time they've led a game in Iowa by at least four runs, only to lose.

The game was scoreless until both teams scored four runs in the third inning. The RedHawks got on the board on a RBI single by Matt Duffy. Ronny Torreyes came up next and laid down a sac bunt, but Iowa pitcher Dan Straily committed a throwing error, allowing another run to score.

It was Torreyes' 21st sacrifice bunt of 2014, setting a new PCL modern era single-season record.

Domingo Santana followed with a two-run single on a 0-2 pitch, giving the RedHawks a 4-0 advantage.

Iowa was able to tie the game in the bottom of the inning on a pair of big two-out hits. With the bases loaded, Mota lined a two-run single to left field to cut the RedHawks' lead in half. Andrew Ely followed with a game-tying two-run double.

The RedHawks regained the lead in the fourth when Sclafani connected on a solo homer to right-center field. Both of his home runs with the RedHawks this season have been against Iowa.

Another unlikely home run occurred in the fifth inning when Ruben Sosa belted a two-run shot to center field to make it 7-4. It was Sosa's first homer this year with the RedHawks and his fifth overall this season.

Iowa trimmed the lead back to two in the sixth. With runners at second and third with two outs, Kalish singled to left field. One run scored on the play, but Sosa threw out Elliot Soto at the plate to end the inning.

Sclafani came up with another big hit the eighth when he shot a triple to right-center field to push the lead to 8-5. The second baseman finished 3-for-5 and a double shy of the cycle.

The RedHawks will try and end the regular season on a high note when they meet Iowa Monday afternoon at 12:05 p.m.