Eliot Soto’s walk-off RBI single in the bottom of the 11th inning gave the Iowa Cubs (71-70) a 5-4 victory over the Oklahoma City RedHawks (74-67) at a soggy Principal Park in a game that ended at 12:30 a.m. The game was delayed at the start by 15 minutes due to rain and had an in-game delay of one hour, 19 minutes.
With the victory, Iowa clings to life in the playoff standings, trailing the RedHawks by three games with three to play. Iowa also needs help from Colorado Springs to have a playoff chance. The last-place Sky Sox need to take three straight games in Omaha to prevent the Cubs from being knocked out of contention. One more victory by Omaha would eliminate Iowa.
The win on Friday included contributions from the unlikeliest of sources. In the 11th, Andrew Ely, the Cubs 32nd round draft pick in the 2014 draft and member of the Cubs AZL team until last week, led off with a blooper down the left field line that dropped behind third base for a single. Jae-Hoon Ha followed with a sacrifice bunt advancing Ely to second. Iowa manager Marty Pevey inserted David Bote, recently up from single-A Kane County to pinch-run for Ely. Soto then lofted a soft liner to right, scoring Bote to give Iowa the victory.
Carlos Pimentel (4-9) picked up the victory for the Cubs, pitching two scoreless innings in relief, allowing one walk with one strikeout.
Iowa held a 4-3 lead going to the ninth. In the ninth, Brian Schlitter allowed an unearned run when Domingo Santana singled through a drawn in infield, scoring Ruben Sosa who was inserted as a pinch-runner, stole second and advanced to third on a throwing error by Iowa catcher Eli Whiteside.
Junior Lake and Jonathan Mota each collected two hits for Iowa.
RedHawks Jonathan Villar and Domingo Santana each homered off Iowa starter Chris Rusin. Rusin and Oklahoma City starter Nick Tropeano both left the game after the 79 minute rain delay.
Game two of the series is Saturday night at Principal Park.