Feb. 22, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — Pitching lifted the University of Iowa baseball team to a 2-0 victory in the opener over St. Bonaventure before the Hawkeye bats erupted for 16 runs on 17 hits en route to a 16-6 win over Ball State in the night cap to complete the doubleheader sweep Saturday at the Snowbird Baseball Classic.
The two victories improve Iowa’s record to 5-1 to start the season. It is the best start for the program since the 2006 season.
Three Iowa pitchers combined for the shutout in the opening game against the Bonnies. Junior southpaw Andrew Hedrick picked up the victory after scattering four hits over a career-best 6 2/3 innings. Hedrick had a career-high seven strikeouts to two walks to improve to 2-0 this season.
“This is the tip of the ice berg for Andrew,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “He’s starting to feel it himself and feel the confidence. He has a lot of ability, and he’s capable of doing that against some of the better teams out there. He worked out of jams and showed a lot of maturity and toughness.”
Sophomore Blake Hickman struck out a pair of batters and allowed a single hit in 2/3 of an inning, while junior Nick Hibbing recorded his second save of the season, allowing zero hits in 1 2/3 innings. He struck out three of the six batters he faced.
Offensively, Iowa scored the game’s first run in the third inning, courtesy of a two-out rally. Juniors Jake Mangler and Jake Yacinich started things off with back-to-back singles before senior Taylor Zeutenhorst walked to load the bases. Hickman then tallied his team-leading 10th RBI after he was plunked by St. Bonaventure starter Joel Rosencrance to give Iowa a 1-0 lead.
The Hawkeyes doubled their lead in the sixth inning when Goodman jump-started the frame with a bunt single, and he advanced to second base on the play on a Bonnie throwing error. After a Tyler Peyton single moved Goodman to third, the junior scored on a safety squeeze by junior Jake Riffice.
St. Bonaventure put its first two runners on base in the eighth inning against Hickman. With runners on second and third, Iowa summoned Hibbing from the bullpen, and he promptly struck out Bret Heath looking. Following a Tyler Bell walk to load the bases, Hibbing got out of the jam by getting Mark Hutmacher to fly out to right field to end the threat.
Yacinich led Iowa at the plate, going 2-for-3 to tally his fourth multi-hit game of the season. Seven different Hawkeyes tallied a hit in the game with Hickman and Riffice collecting the two RBIs.
The Hawkeyes wasted little time scoring in game two, as they jumped out to a 1-0 lead in their first at-bat against Ball State. Junior Eric Toole led off the game with a double down the left field line before moving to third base on a Goodman sacrifice bunt. Yacinich tallied the game’s first RBI with a sacrifice fly to center field.
Ball State answered in its first at-bat, pushing a pair of runs across the plate against Iowa starter Sasha Kuebel. Back-to-back Cardinal doubles produced the first run before a sacrifice fly by Sean Kennedy gave Ball State a 2-1 advantage.
Iowa tied the game with a single run in the second inning before grabbing a 5-2 lead with three runs in the third. Junior Dan Potempa walked to start the second frame, moved to second on a balk and third base on a Nick Day single through the left side. With two outs, Potempa tied the game at two, scoring on a wild pitch.
In the third, Yacinich scored the first of three runs on a passed ball before Potempa’s RBI single plated Zeutenhorst to give Iowa a 4-2 lead. With two outs, Day roped an opposite field RBI double down the right field line to make the score 5-2.
“Nick looked confident and was getting his best swing off on good pitches,” said Heller. “The hardest ball he hit was an out to the centerfielder. It was a good day for Nick, and it was great to see him with a smile on his face.”
After giving up two runs in the first, Kuebel settled in and retired Ball State in order in the second and third innings before giving up a single run in the fourth. Iowa got the run back in the fifth inning on Day’s RBI single to left field before breaking the game open with five runs in the sixth — all coming with two outs.
Yacinich and Zeutenhorst started the rally with consecutive singles before Hickman walked to load the bases. Potempa tallied the first RBI courtesy of a hit by pitch before senior Bryan Niedbalski roped a two-run double to right center to push the Iowa lead to 9-3. Mangler then stretched the lead to 11-3 with a two-run single up the middle.
After the Cardinals scored three runs in the bottom of the sixth inning to cut the deficit to 11-6, Iowa scored three runs in the seventh and two in the eighth inning to extend the lead to double digits.
Goodman reached on a fielder error to lead off the seventh inning before Zeutenhorst connected on a two-run home run down the right field line to make the score 13-6. The blast was his second of the season and third of his career. Hickman welcomed reliever Nestor Bautista with a double down the left field line before moving to third on a wild pitch and scoring on a balk.
Iowa plated its final two runs in the eighth inning. Day reached base for the fourth time in the game, walking to lead off the frame before Mangler followed with a double to right field to put runners at second and third. Both players ended up scoring on sacrifice flies off the bats of Toole and Riffice.
Kuebel picked up his first victory of the season after allowing six runs on seven hits over six innings. He had four strikeouts to two walks in the game. Sophomore Tyler Radtke pitched the final three innings of scoreless relief. The right-hander allowed just two hits and struck out four Cardinal batters.
Five Hawkeyes posted multi-hit games and Iowa pounded out a season-high 17 hits. Zeutenhorst tied a career-high going 4-for-6 with three runs and two RBIs, Day had a career-best three hits, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs and a run, while Toole (2-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI), Hickman (2-for-4, 4 runs), and Mangler (2-for-2, 2 RBIs) each had two hits.
Ball State starter T.J. Weir suffered the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) in three innings. The Cardinals used five pitchers in the game, and the group combined to strike out 14 Iowa batters.
Iowa closes out the Snowbird Classic with an 8 a.m. (CT) matchup against Nebraska-Omaha on Sunday morning.
|Iowa 2, St. Bonaventure 0||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|St. Bonaventure (0-1)||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||2|
|W: Hedrick (IOWA) 2-0|
|L: Rosencrance (SBU) 0-1|
|S: Hibbing (IOWA) 2|
|Iowa 16, Ball State 6||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Ball State (5-2)||2||0||0||1||0||3||0||0||0||6||9||2|
|W: Kuebel (IOWA) 1-0|
|L: Weir (BSU) 0-1|