Christian Villanueva and Brett Jackson each blasted two-run home runs and Eric Jokisch was brilliant as the Iowa Cubs (29-25) took a 5-2 decision over the Nashville Sounds (31-27) on Sunday afternoon at Greer Stadium. With the victory, Iowa ties the season series between the two teams at 7-7.
Jokisch retired the first 11 batters of the game, only allowing an unearned run on a Javier Baez throwing error, over six innings. Jokisch (5-4) allowed only two hits and one walk while striking out five Nashville batters.
Iowa’s offense was given a tough assignment, going up against Sounds starter Mike Fiers (6-3). Fiers came into the game with a 6-2 record and an impressive 2.48 ERA. Villanueva put Iowa on the board with a two-run home run, his fifth, off Fiers in the second, giving Iowa a 2-0 lead. Fiers went six innings, giving up two runs on three hits and two walks while striking out seven.
Up 2-1 in the seventh, Iowa mounted a two-out rally to widen its lead. After Nashville pitcher Michael Blazek walked Luis Flores, Jackson pinch-hit for Jokisch. Jackson drilled a Blazek offering over the right field wall for his third home run of the season, extending the lead to 4-1.
Iowa made it 5-1 in the eighth on a sacrifice fly by Chris Valaika, scoring Logan Watkins who doubled to lead off the inning and advanced to third on a wild pitch by Blazek.
An RBI single by Matt Pagnozzi in the ninth cut the Iowa lead to 5-2. Blake Parker entered the game for Iowa and struck out the final two batters of the game for Nashville to record his tenth save of the season. Parker’s ERA now stands at a sparkling 0.68. Parker is the all-time franchise leader in saves with 51.
Game three of the series is Monday at Greer Stadium.