March 7, 2015
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By BEN SCHMITZ
MURFREESBORO, Tenn. — Timely hitting paired with a solid pitching performance from junior Blake Hickman led the University of Iowa baseball team to a 6-1 victory over Middle Tennessee State on Saturday night at Reese Smith Jr. Field.
With the win, the Hawkeyes improve to 9-1 on the season and extend their winning streak to nine games — the longest winning streak since 2012.
“It was a great day for us on the mound,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Eighteen innings and four pitchers — Tyler Peyton really battled through some adversity and found a way to get it done. Ryan Erickson came in and was really sharp to finish for us.
Hickman (2-0) was in command all night, keeping the Blue Raider bats at-bay by working both sides of the plate to pick up his second victory of the season. Hickman finished the night after six innings of work where he allowed one run on four hits. The Chicago native tallied two strikeouts while walking two.
Offensively, the Hawkeyes struck first, plating the opening run in the top of the first inning. Junior Tyler Peyton put Iowa on the board, connecting for an RBI-double to right centerfield — driving in Jake Mangler for the 1-0 lead.
“I was glad to see us getting on base early on,” said Heller. “We’ve struggled in that early on with runners in scoring position and two outs but we were able to build on that tonight.”
Eric Schenck-Joblinske extended the Black and Gold lead, 2-0, in the top of the fourth inning. Schenck-Joblinske reached on a fielding error at first base and scored off an Eric Toole RBI-single through the left side.
A two-run eighth inning lengthened Iowa’s 4-1 advantage going into the bottom of the frame. Toole had an RBI-walk advancing Joel Booker for the score and Mangler crossed the plate off a Peyton RBI-double.
The lone run given up by Hickman came in the bottom of the fourth. Middle Tennessee’s Michael Adkins reached on a fielding error and later scored on a sacrifice fly ball hit to right field. Hickman was relieved in the bottom of the seventh by Grant. The right-hander picked up his second save on the season after pitching three scoreless innings and limiting the home team to a pair of hits.
MTSU starter Nate Hoffman was charged with the loss following a six-inning effort. Hoffman (0-1) allowed two runs on six hits with a pair of walks.
The two teams return to the field for game three of the series tomorrow afternoon with the first pitch set for 1 p.m. (CT).