March 16, 2015
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By BEN SCHMITZ
HOUSTON — Seven runs on 15 total hits helped push the University of Iowa baseball team past the Houston Baptist Huskies, 7-2, on Monday afternoon at Husky Field.
“It was a good start which was exactly what we needed,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Calvin Matthews did great on the mound. He didn’t have his great command today, especially with his secondary pitches. The one thing he was able to do was pitch inside. We hadn’t been able to do that all weekend and it gave their hitters trouble.”
The Hawkeyes had three players record multi-hit games, including redshirt senior Jake Mangler (4), and juniors Joel Booker (3) and Tyler Peyton (2). The Hawkeye offense was led by Mangler’s four-hit game, which included four singles and two RBI. The four-hit contest was also a career high for the Clinton, Iowa, native.
“The guys swung the bats a lot better today and our pitch selection was much better than it had been the first two games,” said Heller. “Jake Mangler had a big day with four hits today. Joel Booker had three and Tyler Peyton had two. The middle of our lineup did a nice job as we strung hits throughout the lineup, which was big.”
Iowa wasted no time in getting on the board in this afternoon’s contest. In the top of the first, Eric Toole led off with a single to left center and advanced to second on a stolen base. Peyton would eventually bring him around for the go ahead off an RBI-single to left field, putting the visitors on top, 1-0.
The Hawkeye bats erupted in the second inning, adding a trio of runs to cushion the 4-0 lead. Freshman Austin Guzzo got it started this time with a single up the middle. Junior Eric Schenck-Joblinske drew ball four off a 3-1 count to reach safely the put runners in scoring position. Nick Roscetti then delivered, connecting for a doubled to left field, sending Guzzo in for the score. Back-to-back singles from Toole and Mangler would score Schenck-Joblinske and Roscetti for the 4-0 advantage.
A three-run eighth inning capped the scoring for the Black and Gold offense. John Barrett delivered on a pinch-hitting opportunity with a single through the right side to extend the Iowa lead, 6-0, sending Booker and Peyton across the plate. Moore would eventually score to extend the lead, 7-0.
“John’s at bat was big when we had bases loaded,” said Heller. “They brought the left-hander in with our left-handers coming up and he’s been swinging the bat extremely well in batting practice the last couple days. We talked before the game and decided if a legitimate pinch-hit opportunity came up we were going to give John the nod.
It wasn’t just the offense that shined in Monday’s win. Iowa received a strong effort from the pitching staff in the victory, with Calvin Matthews tossing 5.1 innings, allowing four hits and two walks to start the game.
Connor Grant took the mound in the sixth inning, tossing three frames where he allowed a pair of late runs off of two hits and a walk. The two runs marked Houston Baptist’s lone scoring effort that came in the form of a ninth-inning rally that fell short.
Luke Vandermaten finalized the effort. The right-hander from Fort Dodge, Iowa, entered the game in the ninth inning with one out. Vandermaten surrendered one base runner to a hit pitch, but took care of the following two outs to close the game.
The Hawkeyes return to action tomorrow afternoon on Husky Field for game four of the series at 1 p.m. (CT).
“We’ll throw several guys that haven’t gotten into the first three games on the mound tomorrow,” said Heller. “Josh Martsching will get the start so we can treat him like a true mid-week guy. We just need to go out and swing the bats like we did today.”