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September 22 Game Notes: Iowa Cubs @ Louisville Bats

September 22, 2023

IOWA CUBS (82-62) @ LOUISVILLE BATS (72-73) Friday, September 22 • 6:15 PM CT • Louisville Slugger Field • Louisville, KY RHP Caleb Kilian (8-2, 4.38) vs. RHP Michael Mariot (4-4, 6.99)


Friday, September 22 • 6:15 PM CT • Louisville Slugger Field • Louisville, KY

RHP Caleb Kilian (8-2, 4.38) vs. RHP Michael Mariot (4-4, 6.99)

TONIGHT’S GAME: With Iowa taking the first three games of the series, the I-Cubs and Bats head into the final weekend of the 2023 with game four tonight. For Iowa, they will send right-hander Caleb Kilian to the mound. Kilian is slated to make his 24th start of the season for the I-Cubs, which will be the most on the team. The 26-year-old leads Iowa in a multitude of pitching categories having had a successful season with a record of 8-2 and an ERA of 4.38. Over 115.0 innings pitched, Kilian has allowed 56 earned runs off 115 hits while totaling 87 strikeouts compared to 35 walks. Tonight will be the second time this season Kilian has faced Louisville, but the fifth time in his career. He is 0-0 with a 3.38 ERA in all-time against the Bats. Toeing the rubber for Louisville will be Michael Mariot. This will be the righty’s 12th appearance (11th start) for the Bats this season. Over the course of 2023 Mariot has a record of 4-4 with a 6.99 ERA. He has logged 46.1 innings and has given up 36 earned runs off 56 hits. Mariot has 34 strikeouts compared to 21 walks this season and opponents are hitting at a clip of .299 against him. Mariot is no stranger to facing Iowa as he has gone up against the I-Cubs 12 times previously in his career and owns a 3-1 record and 3.43 ERA.

KING OF THE HILL: In last night’s dramatic victory over Louisville, the I-Cubs totaled 11 hits in the contest and outfielder Darius Hill led the charge. Nearly a third of Iowa’s hits came from Hill’s bat as he went 3-for-5 with a run scored, a triple, and two RBI. Hill’s performance marked his second three-hit outing in this series against the Bats as he also recorded three hits in the series opener on Tuesday. The 26-year-old now has racked up four three-hit games over the course of the season and has tallied 24 games with multiple hits on the year. His 24 multi-hit games rank third among Iowa’s active roster. While Hill has not been an everyday player for Iowa this year, he has played in every game during this current series against Louisville and has put on a show. Through the first three games against the Bats this week Hill is hitting at a clip of .538 (7-for-13) with a pair of runs scored, a triple, and five RBI to go along with a .600 on-base percentage and a .692 slugging percentage. The Dallas, Texas natives recent stretch of good play has gone past just this series too. Hill has hit safely in seven of his past 10 games and has slashed numbers of .333/.409/.436 with a pair of doubles, one triple, and seven RBI over that stretch.

MASH AWAY: One of the hottest bats that Iowa has had in the closing stretch of the season has no doubt come from Matt Mervis. The slugger was at it again in last night’s game going 1-for-4 at the dish with a home run and one RBI. Mervis’ 424-foot solo shot last night marked his second home run in as many games as he sent one 427-feet during Wednesday’s matinee. The 25-year-old comes into today’s game with the second highest batting average on Iowa’s active roster of players with at least 10 at-bats, hitting .287 in 98 games. In those 98 games with Iowa, he has hit 23 doubles and 22 home runs, driving in 77 batters and taken 66 walks compared to 98 strikeouts. Over his last 11 games, Mervis has at least one hit in 10 of those contests and two or more in five. On this stretch, he is hitting .405 (17-for-42) with six doubles, four home runs, 10 runs batted in, seven walks and 10 strikeouts. He also had a seven-game hitting streak from Sept. 9-16 in which he hit .482. The Washington D.C. native will look to keep his hot hitting going against Louisville as the series moves to the weekend, as he is hitting .310 with an OPS of 1.033 in 14 games against the Bats now this year.

LATE SEASON ADDITION: Despite it being the final week of the season, the I-Cubs had a player make his season debut for the team in pitcher Scott Kobos. The left-hander was the second arm used out of the bullpen last night and over 1.1 innings he didn’t allow any runs or walks off two hits with one strikeout. Kobos started the 2023 season on the injured list and has seen limited action between Single-A Myrtle Beach and Double-A Tennessee. During his time with the Pelicans in Myrtle Beach he appeared in eight games and tallied a record of 1-0 and an ERA of 2.79. Over 9.2 innings with the Pelicans the 26-year-old allowed just three runs off eight hits and struck out 13 compared to three walks. He also earned one save in two opportunities. While with the Smokies, Kobos made five appearances and in 5.1 innings went 0-1 with 14 walks, five strikeouts, and a 11.81 ERA. The Charlotte, North Carolina native has spent time with Iowa previously as well. During the 2021 season he had a brief stint with the I-Cubs where he made three appearances and tossed only 2.1 innings with six walks compared to one strikeout and seven earned runs.

CLOSING OUT THE YEAR: In what will likely be his final appearance of the season, Caleb Kilian will take the mound for the I-Cubs tonight. The right-hander has been one of the best arms on Iowa’s pitching staff in 2023 as he leads the team in wins (8), games started (23), and innings pitched (115.0). Looking at his season as a whole and coming into tonight’s contest, Kilian has amassed a record of 8-2 with a 4.38 ERA. His ERA is the lowest among Iowa’s starting pitchers and his 87 strikeouts are the third most on the team. His eight wins are a career high for the 26-year-old as well. 2023 also saw Kilian make two different stints up in the big leagues with Chicago and he reached five quality starts while with Iowa. Some other milestones that Kilian reached this season include his 300th career minor league strikeout on August 1 with a punchout of Toledo’s Parker Meadows and his 20th career minor league victory, which came in his last time out versus the St. Paul Saints on September 16.

AGAINST LOUISVILLE: Iowa and Louisville will continue their series with game four of six tonight, as Iowa currently leads the series 3-0. With its win last night, Iowa has a five-game lead over the Bats in the season series, at 10-5 and clinched the season series. Iowa went 7-5 in 12 games at Principal Park and are now 3-0 this year at Louisville Slugger Field. Their three wins also put them seven games over the .500 mark against Louisville all-time, at 32-25, going 20-13 at home and now 12-12 on the road against the Bats.

SHORT HOPS: With the victory over Louisville last night, Iowa set a new season long win streak at eight games; it’s the first time the I-Cubs have won eight consecutive games since they won nine in-a-row from May 27 – June 5, 2016, against Albuquerque, Oklahoma City and Memphis…Iowa improved to 3-6 on the year in games that have gone into extra innings after last night’s 10th inning victory…Tyler Duffey was credited with his second save of the season after striking out the side to secure Iowa’s win last night; he is now one of seven different plays who have recorded at least two or more saves for the I-Cubs this season...Louisville outhit Iowa last night by a mark of 12 to 11 and now the I-Cubs have improved their record to 16-35 when their opponent records 10 or more hits in a game; the I-Cubs also jumped to 15-45 when they are out-hit by their opponent.