John Locher
March 31, 2016

LAS VEGAS (AP) Ben Zobrist had two hits, including an RBI single in Chicago's three-run fifth inning, and the Cubs beat the New York Mets 5-1 on Thursday in an exhibition that was the teams' first meeting since last year's NL Championship Series.

Cubs right-hander Ryan Williams, who was assigned to the minors on March 25 but stayed with the team through its Las Vegas trip, tossed three scoreless innings.

Tommy La Stella had two hits for Chicago, which was swept by New York in the playoffs. Yasiel Balaguert homered in the eighth.

Lucas Duda had three hits for New York, including an RBI single off reliever Trevor Cahill in the fourth inning.

FRIEND AND FOE

Paul Sewald, a Las Vegas native, pitched three scoreless innings for New York. The right-hander, who will start the season at Triple-A Las Vegas, also got to face college teammate Kris Bryant, who went 1 for 2 for Chicago, scoring one of three fifth-inning runs.

The two played at different Las Vegas high schools against each other for three years, but were teammates at the University of San Diego for that same amount of time. They also play golf together in the offseason.

''He's one of the great players to come up from Vegas and I'm glad to see he's doing so well,'' Bryant said. ''He's always talking smack when we play golf.''

Sewald did not know he was going to pitch in his hometown and against Bryant until Thursday morning.

''It was an unbelievable to pitch in front of my family and friends and it was amazing to pitch so well,'' said Sewald, who retired Bryant on a fly call to deep center in the first inning.

As for coming home, Bryant said: ''I love this city. I have good memories from playing club ball to high school.''

STARTING TIME

Cubs: The 24-year-old Williams allowed two hits and struck out one.

Mets: Sewald, 25, yielded one hit, struck out three and walked one.

BACK IN VEGAS

The Mets and Cubs are playing a two-game series in Las Vegas, with the final game Friday afternoon. Chicago has played in Las Vegas every year since 2005, including two against Oakland last year. Meanwhile, this is the third time the Mets have played in Las Vegas, the home of their Triple-A affiliate for the fourth consecutive year. Thursday's game attracted a sellout crowd of 11,025.

UP NEXT

Steven Matz get the ball for New York on Friday.

''It's still spring training, so he'll throw around 75 pitches,'' manager Terry Collins said. ''He's got talent and tremendous stuff. We've got a good pitching staff and he's a big piece of it.''

Following the exhibition, New York travels to Kansas City to open the regular season against the Royals on Sunday night.

The Cubs will go with Jason Hammel on Friday. Chicago then travels to Los Angeles to play the Angels in an exhibition Sunday before opening the season there Monday.

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