Feb. 28, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
DELAND, Fla. — Sophomore Calvin Mathews pitched seven strong innings to lead the University of Iowa baseball team to its fifth-straight victory, a 5-1 triumph over Stetson in the opening game of the Stetson Invitational.
The victory improves the team’s record to 7-1, matching the 1985 Hawkeyes’ start to the season.
“I couldn’t be happier with the outcome, the guys played hard and with a lot of energy,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “That is a big win for us. Stetson is a good program with a great tradition. To come to their tournament, play the night game and beat them is not easy to do.”
Mathews scattered five hits over 7 1/3 innings, allowing one unearned run. He retired the side in order in three innings and finished with two strikeouts to a single walk. The victory is his first of the season and third of his career.
“Calvin went out and did a tremendous job,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “He pitched ahead in the count and to contact early.”
The Hawkeyes struck first, pushing a pair of runs across the plate in the third inning. Junior Eric Toole led off the frame with an infield single before junior Jake Mangler followed with a double to right field. Both runners scored when Stetson shortstop Tyler Bocock couldn’t handle a laser off the bat of senior Taylor Zeutenhorst, giving Iowa a 2-0 lead. Zeutenhorst drove in his 10th RBI of the season on the play.
The Hatters got one back in the bottom half of the inning. With one out, Darby McCormick singled up the middle — Stetson’s first hit against Mathews. Kyle Pitts followed with an infield single and moved to third on a throwing error by junior Jake Yacinich. McCormick then scored on a Mathews balk, but the right-hander avoided further damage by inducing a 6-4-3 inning-ending double play.
Iowa manufactured an insurance run in the sixth inning to push its lead to 3-1 before stretching its lead to 5-1 with two runs in the eighth. The Hawkeyes have outscored its opponents 38-15 over the final four innings this season.
“That’s what good teams do, they don’t give up or get satisfied when you get a lead or get behind,” said Heller. “That’s when a lot of teams give away at-bats when they have a lead. We’ve done a good job of not wasting at-bats and trying to win those last three innings. It’s something we work on a lot in the fall, and the guys have done a good job of executing that.”
After junior Kris Goodman reached via an infield single to lead off the sixth, junior Dan Potempa laid down a sacrifice bunt to move him into scoring position. Sophomore Tyler Peyton then executed a hit-and-run with an RBI single through the right side.
The Hawkeyes stretched their advantage in the eighth with a one-out rally. Potempa started things off with a single, Peyton walked, and junior Nick Day laced a single to right field to load the bases. Toole pushed the fourth run across the plate with a sacrifice fly to left field, scoring pinch runner Jake Riffice, and Mangler made the score 5-1 when he roped a first-pitch RBI single to right field for his third hit of the game, tying a career-high.
Mangler finished 3-for-5 with one run and one RBI, while Toole (2-for-4, 1 run, 1 RBI) and Day (2-for-4) both had two-hit games. It was Mangler’s fifth multi-hit game of the season, and he extended his hitting streak to eight games.
Junior Nick Hibbing relieved Mathews with one on and one-out in the eighth. He surrendered a single to Pitts, the first battle he faced, before getting a pair of groundouts to end the inning. Hibbing allowed one hit in 1 2/3 innings of work.
Austin Perez (0-3) took the loss for Stetson, allowing two runs (one earned) on five hits over four innings.
The Hawkeyes (7-1) return to action at noon Saturday against Maine with junior Sasha Kuebel taking the hill.
|Iowa 5, Stetson 1||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|W: Mathews (IOWA) 1-0|
|L: Perez (SU) 0-3|