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Valaika's walk-off leads Iowa over Memphis

Chris Valaika drove in the winning run for Iowa on Sunday
Photo by Christian Petersen/Getty Images

Chris Valaika’s walk-off single backed up an impressive triple-A pitching debut for Eric Jokisch as the Iowa Cubs defeated the Memphis Redbirds 4-3 on Sunday at Principal Park.

Valaika singled to center, scoring Matt Szczur to give Iowa (1-3) their first win of the 2014 season and avoid a four-game sweep at the hands of the Redbirds (3-1).

Jokisch, who threw a no-hitter for the double-A Tennessee Smokies in 2013, pitched seven strong innings in his triple-A debut, scattering six hits and walking one while striking out three. Jokisch gave up two unearned runs in the first on a Chris Valaika error, followed by an errant pickoff attempt by Jokisch for the second error of the inning.

Iowa quickly got one run back in the bottom of the first on an RBI single by Josh Vitters, cutting the deficit to 2-1.

The I-Cubs would tie the game in the seventh when, Chicago Cubs top prospect, Javy Baez collected his first home run (and hit) in triple-A. The blast was the first of what figures to be many this season.

Iowa would take the lead in the eighth on a bases loaded walk to catcher Luis Flores.

Memphis catcher Ed Easley would tie the game in the ninth on an infield single setting the stage for Valaika’s heroic in the bottom of the inning.

Zac Rosscup (1-0) picked up his first victory of the year for Iowa.

Iowa opens a four-game series with the Nashville Sounds on Monday night at Principal Park.

NOTES: Former Iowa Cubs outfielder Darnell McDonald announced his retirement from baseball on Sunday. McDonald, a first round pick of the Baltimore Orioles in the 1997 draft, appeared in 331 major league games in his career.

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