Iowa Upends Valparaiso, 13-5

May 6, 2008

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IOWA CITY, IA – The Iowa Hawkeye baseball team beat Valparaiso, 13-5, Tuesday night at Duane Banks Field. The Hawkeyes took advantage of 14 free bases (11 walks and three hit-by-pitches) dealt by seven different Crusader pitchers, solid pitching and airtight defense. This was the last midweek game for the Hawkeyes; the win advanced them to 20-27 and dropped the Crusaders to 16-29.

Jeff Pacha got his first start as a Hawkeye and earned the win. Pacha went three innings, allowing only one hit on one run and striking out three consecutive Crusaders. The Hawkeye bullpen consisted of: Kevin Lee, Patrick Schatz, Matt Douglas, Andrew Porter, Jason Belk and Zach Kenyon.

Justin Toole continued to be red-hot, extending his hitting streak to 21 games, going 3-for-5 with three runs scored, three RBI, a stolen base and one walk. Kurtis Muller continued to swing the bat with authority going 2-for-4 with two runs scored, a walk, two RBI and a home run. Caleb Curry went 3-for-5 with two doubles, two stolen bases, two RBI and a run scored. Ben Geelan went 1-for-3 with two RBI and two walks.

“Our guys did a good job,” said Iowa Head Coach Jack Dahm. “We swung the bat well and took advantage of their mistakes. Tonight was a good overall effort defensively, offensively and on the mound.”

The Crusaders took an early 1-0 lead in the second. Despite Pacha striking out the first two batters, Valparaiso took advantage of a hit-by-pitch and Jeff Greco RBI double.

The Hawkeye offense took advantage of shaky Crusader defense and hit the ball hard to take a 5-1 advantage in the second frame. Tyson Blaser started the rally off with a single through the right side. Geelan had a quality at bat and drew a walk. One out later, Zach McCool also drew a walk to load the bases. With two-outs, Toole came up big with a two-RBI single up the middle to put Iowa on the board. Curry followed suite with an RBI single to center to make it 3-1. Toole and Curry stole second and third. Toole scored on a wild pitch and Curry was waved in after a throwing error by the Valparaiso catcher.

Valparaiso chipped away in the top of the fourth with a solo homer by Jason Brunelli to make it 5-2.

Iowa added three insurance runs in the bottom of the fourth to make it 8-2. Toole reached base for the third consecutive at-bat with a walk. Curry picked up an RBI with a single to left field but was called out when going to third. Cataldo drew a walk to keep Iowa alive. Muller reached on his 14th hit-by-pitch to put runners on first and second. Blaser loaded the bases with the third Hawkeye walk on the inning. Geelan picked up two RBI with a single through the left side.

The Hawkeyes continued to stay patient in the box and picked up another insurance run to make it 9-2 in the sixth. Blaser led off with a walk, followed by a Geelan walk and Riffel base on balls. McCool picked up his fifth RBI of the season with a sacrifice fly to left field.

The Black and Gold kept at it in the bottom of the seventh. Cataldo hit a one-out single to start Iowa off and a Muller two-run round tripper gave Iowa an 11-2 cushion. Tonight marked the fifth time in seven games the Hawkeyes played double digits.

Iowa kept at it in the bottom of the eighth, plating two to make it 13-3. With two-out, Trevor Willis came up big with a double to left center, and was brought in by the hot-hitting Toole who singled up the middle. Cataldo singled to left field to bring in Toole.

“We’re making progress and it’s good to see,” Dahm said. “We have two more weeks left, where we can get better and create some excitement.”

Curry stole two bases in tonight’s contest, which put him at 34 on the year and tie him for third with Craig Conti on the Iowa single-season stolen bases chart. Toole’s three hits tonight bring his season total to 78, which rank fourth in Iowa’s single-season annals.

The Hawkeyes will travel to University Park, PA to take on the Penn State Nittany Lions in a four-game series this weekend. Game one is set for 5:30 p.m. (CDT) Friday.

Valparaiso 010 100 012 -- 5 9 4
Iowa 050 301 22X -- 13 13 0

WP - Pacha (1-0)
LP - Gulbransen (2-7)