One day after Chris Rusin twirled a no-hitter for the Iowa Cubs, New Orleans Zephyrs pitcher Elih Villanueva spun a gem of his own. Two big offensive innings paced the Zephyrs 9-1 victory over the I-Cubs on Thursday night at Zephyr Field.
Villanueva (3-1) had Iowa hitters off balance all night, allowing only three base runners over seven innings. Villanueva allowed singles in the first and second innings along with a walk in the seventh.
Iowa (18-14) starter Kyle Hendricks deserved a better fate but was charged with giving up four unearned runs in the fourth inning. With two on and two out, a fielding error by first baseman Chris Valaika allowed a run to score. Villanueva followed with an RBI single to center. Josh Rodriguez followed Villanueva with a two-run double, giving the Zephyrs a 4-0 lead.
New Orleans (15-20) broke the game open in the seventh, posting five runs off I-Cubs reliever Alberto Cabrera. Cabrera faced five batters and gave up five hits, including home runs to Mark Canha and Kyle Jensen before giving way to Eduardo Figueroa.
Iowa’s best chance to put runs on the board came in the eighth when they loaded the bases on singles by Brett Jackson and Eli Whiteside along with a walk to Jonathan Mota. Matt Szczur drove in the only Iowa run of the game on an RBI fielder’s choice.
Hendricks (3-3) pitched six innings, giving up four unearned runs on eight hits and a walk while striking out six.
NOTES: Zac Rosscup was recalled by the Chicago Cubs on Wednesday when the Cubs placed Pedro Strop on the disabled list. This marks the third time this season Rosscup has been called up by Chicago.