April 19, 2014
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team scored the game’s final 11 runs to rally from a 5-0 deficit for an 11-5 victory over Minnesota in front of a season-high 1,036 fans Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field. The win evens the weekend series at 1-1 heading into Sunday’s Easter Day finale.
“This was a big win for us after we were roughed up in the first inning,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We kept battling and battling. We had great at-bats and kept fighting and it looked like we were going to leave a couple of opportunities. We had had some clutch two-out hits.”
After spotting the Gophers a 5-0 lead over the first 1.5 innings, the Hawkeyes began chipping away in the bottom of the second. Iowa loaded the bases via a Kris Goodman walk, Jimmy Frankos single and a hit by pitch by Eric Toole before Minnesota starter Ben Meyer plunked Jake Mangler to plate the Hawkeyes’ first run.
Iowa cut the lead to 5-2 in the fourth on an RBI groundout by Mangler, scoring Nick Day, who doubled to lead off the inning after Gopher right fielder Jordan Smith lost a routine fly ball in the sun. The Hawkeyes followed with two runs in the fifth, pulling to within 5-4. Yacinich scored the third run on a groundout by Goodman with the bases loaded before Frankos laced an RBI single to center field.
The Hawkeyes took the lead in the sixth, plating four runs on four hits. Toole singled to lead off the inning before Tyler Peyton executed a hit-and-run through the hole at second base to put runners at first and third with one out. Yacinich put Iowa on top, 6-5, with a two-run triple into the right centerfield gap before Dan Potempa followed with a sacrifice fly to push the advantage to 7-5. Senior Taylor Zeutenhorst made it a four-run inning after connecting on a bomb into the back drop in centerfield — his seventh home run of the season and second in as many days.
Iowa added two insurance runs in the seventh and one in the eighth to stretch the lead to 11-5. Mangler drove in the ninth run after reaching on an error by Minnesota third baseman Matt Fiedler before Peyton plated the 10th run on an RBI fielder’s choice. The Hawkeyes’ final run came in the eighth when Frankos roped an RBI single to left center field to score Zeutenhorst. It was Frankos’ career-best fourth hit of the game.
Hawkeye starter Sasha Kuebel (5-3) picked up the victory, despite allowing five runs on 10 hits in seven innings. The Gophers scored all five of their runs and had seven hits in the first two frames before Kuebel allowed two hits and three bases runners over his final four innings.
“Sasha went out there, played and kept plugging away,” said Heller. “I felt Sasha was tentative in the first inning and didn’t play with conviction. I told him to go out and attack, don’t have poor body language and aim your pitches… just go after it. He did a good job of making the adjustment.”
The Hawkeyes finished with 14 hits in the game with 12 coming from five players. Frankos finished 4-for-5 with two RBIs and a run scored — the fourth Hawkeye to tally a four-hit game this season. Peyton (2-for-5, 1 run, 1 RBI), Yacinich (2-for-3, 2 RBIs, 2 runs), Zeutenhorst (2-for-4, 2 runs, 1 RBI) and Day (2-for-5, 2 runs) all had two hits.
Gopher reliever Brian Glowicki (0-1) suffered the loss, allowing six runs (five earned) on six hits over 1 1/3 innings. Minnesota starter Ben Meyer threw five innings, allowing four runs (two earned on five hits).
Minnesota stormed out of the gates, jumping out to a 5-0 lead over the first two innings. The Gophers plated their first two runs on a double by Michael Handel and stretched the advantage to 3-0 before Iowa recorded its first out. Minnesota scored their third run on an infield single by Troy Traxler before Austin Athmann’s sacrifice fly pushed the margin to 4-0.
The Gophers stretched the lead to 5-0 in the second when Connor Schaefbauer singled to lead off the inning before scoring on Handel’s RBI double down the left field line.
The rubber game of the series is set to begin at 1 p.m. (CT) Sunday afternoon.
|Iowa 11, Minnesota 5||1||2||3||4||5||6||7||8||9||R||H||E|
|Minnesota (18-16, 6-8)||4||1||0||0||0||0||0||0||0||5||11||4|
|Iowa (21-15, 6-8)||0||1||0||1||2||4||2||1||X||11||14||0|
|W: Kuebel (IOWA) 5-3|
|L: Glowicki (MINN) 0-1|