March 14, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
HOUSTON — Houston Baptist pounded out 13 hits against the University of Iowa baseball team to post a 7-1 series opening victory Saturday afternoon at Husky Field.
The Huskies (8-9) roughed up Hawkeye starter Tyler Peyton (2-1), scoring four runs on six hits over 2 1/3 innings to hand the junior his first loss of the season. Houston Baptist starter Taylor Wright (3-2) gave up eight hits, but just one run over 6 1/3 innings. He had two strikeouts against four walks.
After leaving two runners stranded in the top of the first inning, the Huskies jumped out to a 3-0 lead in the second, courtesy of three extra base hits. Thomas Clay drove in the first two runs with a triple to right centerfield and Zach Nehrir pushed the lead to 3-0 with a double down the right field line.
Iowa tried to put together a two-out rally in the third, loading the bases via a pair of walks and a Dan Potempa single, but a pop out to second base ended the inning. Houston Baptist chased Peyton from the game in the bottom half following an Austin Saenz double to right center, and Saenz scored HBU’s fourth run on a Brandon Morones sacrifice fly to right center.
“Tyler wasn’t sharp today and didn’t have good command,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Houston Baptist hitters did a nice job with two strikes and were really dialed in at the plate… they wouldn’t give in. They fought hard and had some nice two-out hits that really hurt us in the first three innings, and it wasn’t long for the road for Tyler today.”
The Huskies pushed their lead to 5-0 in the fifth. Curtis Jones singled to lead off the inning, moved to third on two groundouts and scored on a Ryan Erickson wild pitch.
The Hawkeyes couldn’t take advantage of a Kris Goodman leadoff double in the sixth, and Iowa plated its only run an inning later. Junior Eric Schenck-Joblinske hit a pinch-hit solo home run over the scoreboard in right field, cutting the deficit to 5-1. It was Schenck-Joblinske’s first long ball as a Hawkeye and Iowa’s fourth home run of the season.
Houston Baptist added two runs in the eighth inning. Andrew Alvarez doubled to lead off the frame and scored on a Hawkeye throwing error. Clay drove in the second run with an RBI single to right center before freshman Nick Allgeyer recorded the final three outs to get Iowa out of the inning.
The Hawkeyes finished with 10 hits in the contest, but they left 11 runners on base. Three Iowa players — Potempa (3-for-5), Jake Mangler (2-for-5), and Joel Booker (2-for-4) — posted multi-hit games. Goodman and senior Eric Toole extended their reached base streak to 12-straight games, and Booker’s hitting streak is now at six games.
“We had some hits, but it seemed like they all happened with two outs,” said Heller. “We’d get something going, but we couldn’t get the blow to get the runs in.”
Iowa (10-3) returns to action Sunday for game two of the four-game series at 2 p.m. (CT).
“We couldn’t get it going today,” said Heller. “Our energy was bad, our focus wasn’t good, and we missed some signs. From a coaching standpoint, it was a terrible day. Hopefully we can clean it away and come back and give better effort tomorrow.”