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Cakes combine for no-hitter

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Scott Copeland faced the minimum over seven no-hit innings, and Hunter Cervenka and Brandon Cunniff finished off the first New Orleans no-hitter since 2001 in an 11-1 win over the Iowa Cubs on Friday night in Des Moines.

It is the first combined no-hitter in team history and third overall, joining Brian Powell's 2001 gem against Omaha, and Scott Taylor's no-hitter against Buffalo in 1994.

The last no-hitter in the Pacific Coast League featured the same two teams, as Iowa's Chris Rusin held New Orleans hitless at the Shrine on Airline on May 7, 2014. The I-Cubs had not been no-hit since 2002, when Calgary's Jamie Arnold accomplished the feat.

Copeland (1-0) appeared poised to go the distance himself, needing only 63 pitches to breeze through seven innings. He issued a one-out walk to Jeimer Candelario in the fifth but induced an inning-ending double play, then retired the next six batters before being lifted for a pinch hitter during the Baby Cakes' seven-run outburst in the eighth.

Isaac Galloway, who hit for Copeland, delivered a two-run single off the bench, and Matt den Dekker followed with a three-run homer to break the game open.

Handed an 11-run lead, Cervenka struggled to find the plate in the bottom of the eighth and walked a pair. Two 'Cakes errors on hard-hit grounders, by third baseman Matt Juengel and first baseman Brandon Barnes, allowed the Cubs to break up the shutout without the benefit of a hit.

Cunniff retired the side in order in the ninth to secure the Baby Cakes' place in PCL history as only the third no-hitter to consist of three pitchers.

Lost in the excitement of the no-hitter was the offense finding its groove. Just two nights after an 18-5 loss, and in the midst of a five-game stretch where they had gone 8-for-52 with runners in scoring position, the 'Cakes collected six hits in eight such at-bats on Friday.

Juengel had three hits and three RBI, and Peter Mooney drove in three runs as New Orleans salvaged a split of the four-game series.

Jake Buchanan (0-2) struck out seven in five innings, but took the loss for Iowa.


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