March 17, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — The University of Iowa baseball team erupted for 17 runs in a four-inning stretch to close out the Snowbird Baseball Classic with a 17-5 blasting of Otterbein University on Monday morning.
“Otterbein gave us a fight,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We had a day where a lot of line drives were right at somebody for five innings. It was scary, and it looked like a day where we’d get beat, just because. We finally broke out in the fifth inning and scored 17 runs from the fifth through eighth innings.”
After being limited to a pair of hits and falling behind 1-0 through four innings, the Hawkeye bats awoke in the fifth, starting with a solo home run from junior Dan Potempa, which tied the game at one. Iowa then followed with a five-run fifth inning to take a 6-1 lead.
Junior Eric Toole led off the frame with a single before junior Jake Mangler walked to put a pair on. Senior Taylor Zeutenhorst made the score 4-1 with a three-run blast to right field — his team-leading fourth home run this season. After junior Kris Goodman reached via a hit by pitch, Potempa roped an RBI double to right center before sophomore Blake Hickman’s RBI single to left center plated the Hawkeyes’ sixth run of the inning.
Iowa then pushed its lead to 7-1 in the seventh after Toole opened the inning with a leadoff double, stole third and scored on a Tyler Peyton single through the left side. In the eighth, Otterbein got to junior starter Sasha Kuebel, knocking him out of the game after consecutive singles to lead off the frame. The Cardinals plated four runs on four hits and benefited from one Hawkeye error, cutting the lead to 7-5.
“Otterbein rallied and scared us a little bit in the eighth, but we came out and scored a bunch of runs to put it away,” said Heller.
Put it away they did.
Iowa sent 14 batters to the plate in the bottom of the eighth inning, where it scored 10 runs on seven hits. It was the team’s second 10-run inning this season, as the Hawkeyes had a 10-run second inning in a 15-13 win at Austin Peay in the second game of the season.
After a pair of walks and a hit by pitch loaded the bases to start the inning, Toole drove in the first run, reaching on a fielder’s choice. Mangler followed with a two-run double to right center to make the score 10-5. With two outs, Zetuenhorst tallied his fourth RBI of the game with a single through the right side before Goodman roped a three-run home run over the left field fence to push the advantage to 14-5.
The Hawkeyes weren’t done, as junior Taylor Kaufman started another rally with a single up the middle before Hickman doubled to left center to put runners at second and third. Day followed with a two-run single to center to make the score 16-5 before pinch hitter Joe Tellez knocked in the final run with a double down the left field line.
Junior Sasha Kuebel (2-1) picked up his second victory of the season, allowing three runs on six hits over seven innings. The left-hander retired the side in order in four innings and finished with three strikeouts to a single walk.
“Sasha was the story for me, he pitched well today,” said Heller. “We got him back it looks like, which is a great thing. He has been struggling lately, but he went out today and pitched well.”
Fifteen of Iowa’s 17 hits came in the final four innings. Ten different Hawkeyes tallied at least one hit and six players had multi-hit games. Zeutenhorst finished with three hits, going 3-for-5 with four RBIs and two runs, while Toole (2-for-5, three runs), Goodman (2-for-3, 3 RBIs, 2 runs), Potempa (2-for-3, 2 runs, 2 RBIs), Hickman (2-for-4, 2 runs) and Day (2-for-4, 2 RBIs) all had two hits.
Iowa (12-5) is scheduled to open its home season Wednesday against Mount Mercy at Banks Field, but the game will not be played in Iowa City. Options are being considered for alternate locations.
|Iowa 17, Otterbein University 5||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Otterbein Univ. (7-2)||0||0||0||1||0||0||0||4||0||5||9||0|
|W: Kuebel (IOWA) 2-0|
|L: Collier (OTT) 1-2|