Feb. 14, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. — A three-run seventh inning propelled the University of Iowa baseball team to a 4-2 victory over Saint Louis on the second day of the Snowbird Baseball Classic.
“This was a good bounce-back win after a tough loss against Kansas State yesterday,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “The guys had a quick turnaround, getting to the field at 8 a.m. They gave great effort and beat a good Saint Louis team; it’s good to get the first win.”
With the score tied at one, the Hawkeyes broke through against Billiken reliever Robert Plohr in the bottom of the seventh inning. Iowa loaded the bases to start the inning courtesy of a pair of walks and a Kris Goodman single before junior Nick Roscetti wore a Plohr pitch to push in a run to give the Hawkeyes a 2-1 lead.
Senior Nick Day followed with an RBI single to chase Plohr from the contest, and senior Eric Toole reached on a fielder’s choice allowing junior Jimmy Frankos to score on the play to give the Hawkeyes a 4-1 advantage.
Junior Ryan Erickson retired the first eight batters he faced after replacing starter Blake Hickman with two outs in the sixth, but Saint Louis tried to rally in the ninth. Iowa turned to junior closer Tyler Radtke with one out after Erickson gave up a single and walk to put two runners on.
Saint Louis’ Alex King singled to load the bases, and the Billikens cut the lead to 4-2 when Danny Murphy drove in a run, reaching on a fielder’s choice. Radtke closed out the game by getting Trent Leimkuehler to fly out to left field.
Erickson (1-0) picked up his first collegiate victory after allowing one run on one hit over 2 2/3 innings. Hickman allowed one unearned run on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings, but wasn’t involved in the decision.
“Our pitchers really did a nice job,” said Heller.
Saint Louis starter Zach Girrens limited the Hawkeyes to one run on three hits and he had eight strikeouts over six innings. Plohr (0-1) suffered the loss, giving up three runs and not recording an out.
The Hawkeyes managed just six hits with Goodman and Day posting multiple hit games. Goodman was 2-for-4 with a run score, while Day went 2-for-3 with one RBI. Toole went 1-for-3 with one run, one RBI, and two steals, moving into the top-10 in school history.
“Offensively, it wasn’t a great day, but we were able to manufacture some things with our speed,” said Heller. “It wasn’t our best day, but we found a way to get it done.”
After going through the order hitless over the first three innings, Iowa manufactured the game’s first run in the fourth. Toole walked to lead off the inning, stole second and third base, before scoring on a passed ball. Iowa didn’t record its first hit until the fifth inning when Tyler Peyton led off the inning with a single.
Saint Louis evened the game at one in the sixth, using a two-out rally. Braxton Martinez reached on an error before scoring on a two-out RBI single by Colton Frabasilio. Hickman departed the game one batter later.
Iowa (1-1) closes out the weekend facing George Mason on Sunday. The game time has been moved up one hour to a 9 a.m. (CT) start at South County Regional Park.