Jorge Soler reached base three times in his triple-A debut, Javier Baez homered, and Mike Olt had 3 RBI in his return as the Iowa Cubs (57-48) pasted the New Orleans Zephyrs 11-2 on Thursday night at Principal Park. Iowa maintains its 2.5 game lead over Omaha in the PCL American North division with the win.
Soler, making his Iowa debut, played right field and collected his first triple-A hit in the third on a single back up the middle off Zephyrs (53-52) starter Alex Sanabia. Soler finished 1-for-3 with two walks on the night.
Iowa broke open a 1-1 game in the fourth by posting four runs to take a 5-1 lead. The big blow of the inning came from Olt, making his return to Iowa after being optioned by Chicago. Olt came up with the bases loaded and ripped a double to center, clearing the bases. Olt came around to score when Rafael Lopez followed with a single to right.
Baez made the score 6-1 in the fifth, cranking his 17th home run of the season on the first pitch from Sanabia (5-4). Baez came up again with the bases loaded in the sixth and extended the lead to 8-1 with a two-run single to left.
Josh Vitters capped the scoring for Iowa by blasting a two-run, pinch-hit home run in the seventh. For Vitters, it was his eighth home run of the season and first pinch-hit home run for Iowa since Brett Jackson accomplished the feat on June 1 in Nashville.
Iowa starter Eric Jokisch (6-8) picked up the victory, tossing 5.2 innings, scattering ten hits and walking two with five strikeouts.
Every position recorded at least one hit for Iowa with Baez and Olt picking up two hits each.
Iowa opens up a series with the Memphis Redbirds on Friday. The five-game series will feature back-to-back doubleheaders on Saturday and Sunday.