April 15, 2015
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By BEN SCHMITZ
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The offense came alive early on Wednesday night as the 14th-ranked University of Iowa baseball team scored four runs in the first three innings en route to a 9-1 victory over Cornell College at Duane Banks Field.
“I feel good about how tonight went,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “It went as planned, and it doesn’t always happen that way. The guys came out with good energy, a professional approach, and prepared well for today.
“We were also able to put together a legitimate start for Nick Gallagher. With that, we were able to get Jared Mandel and Josh Martsching into the game for some work as well. Offensively, we got additional at-bats for our non-starters, and swung the bats a lot better tonight and drove the ball into the gap. We’re leaving tonight feeling a lot better than we did after previous games.”
Booker opened the scoring in the bottom of the second inning, reaching on a single to center field and eventually scoring off an Eric Toole sacrifice fly to deep center. The Columbus, North Carolina, native finished the night going 2-for-3 at the plate — driving in a pair of runs, while scoring three of his own.
The Hawkeyes piled on more offense in the third with a three-run showing. Juniors Tyler Peyton, Daniel Aaron Moriel, and Booker each plated runs to extend a 4-0 lead. Peyton got on base with a double to left field, Moriel followed by taking one on the inside shoulder, and Booker walked.
The Rams answered in the top of the fifth with their only run. With bases loaded and one out, Wyatt Kurzejeski scored on a fielder’s choice to narrow the gap, 4-1. Nate Streb registered the RBI.
The Iowa bats erupted in the fifth, scoring four runs on three doubles and a pair of singles. Freshman Grant Klenovich, Moriel, and Barrett connected on three straight doubles to start the inning. Klenovich and Moriel scored runs before junior Nick Roscetti and senior Kris Goodman followed up with a pair of one-out RBI-singles that lifted the home team to an 8-1 advantage.
Peyton tallied Iowa’s final run in the bottom of the sixth, pushing the margin to 9-1. The Grimes, Iowa, native drew ball four on a 3-1 count and later scored defensive error.
“I talked to the guys last night and reminded them to stick to the process,” said Heller. “Tonight they just took a deep breathe at the plate and went back to the basics — and it worked out for us,” said Heller. “I didn’t see any over-thinking; we just went out and swung the bats.”
Pitching in front of the home crowd, Gallagher started the contest, working four strong innings where he limited the Cornell offense to one run off a pair of hits. Mandel (2-0) took over the pitching responsibilities in the top of the fifth with no outs. The left-hander quieted the visiting bats, holding the Rams hitless and scoreless over three innings of work.
Martsching appeared in the eighth inning and collected a pair of strikeouts before the Hawkeyes closed the door on a 9-1 final.
“I was overall happy with how we played tonight,” said Heller. “We’ll see a different team in Northwestern this weekend so we’ll go home tonight, regroup, and get ready for them at practice tomorrow.”
The Hawkeyes (24-10) return to action Friday night, taking on Northwestern at 6 p.m. at Banks Field in the opener of a three-game weekend series.