Iowa batters pounded out a season-high 19 hits and Chris Rusin provided another quality start as the Iowa Cubs (42-37) routed the Colorado Springs Sky Sox 16-3 at Security Service Field on Friday. Iowa blasted three home runs, including a grand slam from Chris Valaika.
The banner night for Iowa’s offense included at least one hit by every batting position in the lineup. Rusin allowed a run to the Sky Sox (34-47) in the second but quickly erased the Sky Sox lead himself. Rusin led off the third by homering off Colorado Springs starter Pedro Hernandez (5-4), tying the game at 1-1. The blast to right was the first career home run for Rusin. Iowa batters followed Rusin with three straight singles followed by a Sky Sox error and an RBI groundout by Kris Bryant, giving Iowa a 4-1 lead.
Iowa posted single runs in the fourth and fifth, leading to a five run sixth. Arismendy Alcantara and Matt Szczur led off with back-to-back singles. After Javier Baez walked to load the bases, Valaika cleared them all, belting a grand slam to right, giving Iowa a 10-1 lead.
Up 10-3 in the eighth, Iowa plated five more runs, the big blow coming when Alcantatra drilled a three-run home run to right for his tenth home run of the season. Alcantara continued his hot streak at the plate, going 4-for-6 with a HR and 4 RBI. In his last ten games, Alcantara is batting .462 (18-for-39) with 2 HR and 9 RBI, raising his season batting average to .301.
Rusin (5-10) provided the 46th quality start for the Iowa pitching staff, tossing six innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and four walks, striking out four. With over two months remaining in the season, Iowa is only four quality starts behind its entire total of 50 quality starts in 2013.
Bryant went 3-for-6 with two doubles and an RBI while Szczur, Valika, Josh Vitters, Rafael Lopez, and Rusin added two hits each.
The series continues Saturday night in Colorado Springs.