Feb. 15, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
PUNTA GORDA, Fla. — Three University of Iowa pitchers limited George Mason to four hits in a 4-1 Hawkeye triumph in the weekend finale at the Snowbird Baseball Classic at South County Regional Park. Iowa won 2-of-3 games during its season-opening weekend.
“We played three quality teams (in Florida),” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We were close to getting all three, but taking 2-of-3 against the arms we saw, I couldn’t be happier heading into next week at UALR.”
Junior starters Calvin Mathews (1-0) surrendered a first inning run, but nothing else to pick up his first victory of the season. The right-hander allowed three hits over five innings and had four strikeouts against one walk.
Trailing 1-0 through three innings, the Hawkeyes broke through for a pair of runs in the fourth. Senior Jake Mangler singled to lead off the frame before moving into scoring position on a passed ball. With two outs, senior Kris Goodman delivered an RBI single through the left side, and freshman Austin Guzzo put Iowa on top with an RBI single to right field.
“In his first career start, Guzzo had a couple of big hits, and he threw two runners out,” said Heller. “I am happy for him… he did a great job.”
Iowa added single runs in the seventh and ninth innings. Guzzo singled to lead off the seventh before moving up a base on a Nick Roscetti sacrifice bunt. Junior Joel Booker pushed across the third Hawkeye run with an RBI single to right field, making the score 3-1.
The Hawkeyes added an insurance run courtesy of a two-out rally in their final at-bat. Senior Nick Day singled to center field to start things off before stealing second base. After Eric Toole drew a walk, Iowa executed a double-steal to put runners at second and third, and Booker drove in his second run, legging out an infield single.
The Patriots’ jumped out to a 1-0 lead, notching a pair of first-inning hits against Mathews. Luke Willis led off the game with a double to left field before Michael Smith followed with a single through the right side. Willis scored on the play on an errant throw by Booker.
Mathews settled in, retiring the next eight George Mason batters. Iowa retired the Patriots in order in four of the nine innings.
The Hawkeyes matched their hit total from the first two games, finishing with nine hits against George Mason. Booker (2-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Guzzo (2-for-4, 1 R, 1 RBI) posted multi-hit games, while seven different players had at least one hit. Iowa swiped five bases in the game with two apiece from Toole and Booker.
Iowa (2-1) returns to action Feb. 20 for a road game at Arkansas-Little Rock.