May 1, 2015
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By JAMES ALLAN
ANN ARBOR, Mich. — The 15th-ranked University of Iowa baseball team tied a season-high, scoring 13 runs on 15 hits to cruise to a 13-7 series-opening victory over Michigan on Friday afternoon at the Wilpon Complex.
The victory moves Iowa to 14-2 in Big Ten play — the most league wins for the program since 2007 — and Iowa is 32-11 overall.
Five different Hawkeyes had multi-hit games, and Iowa never trailed in the contest, leading 3-1 after two, 5-4, after three, and 9-5 after four. Iowa busted the game open, scoring four runs in the eighth and ninth innings.
“This wasn’t what I was expecting coming into a Friday night game,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Thank goodness today was one of those days where the offense showed up and picked up the pitching. It was a good day offensively, we played good defense, and found a way to get it done.”
Junior Ryan Erickson improved to 4-0, tossing a season-high 5 2/3 innings, allowing two runs on five hits in relief of junior starter Blake Hickman. Hickman lasted just 2 1/3 innings, giving up four runs on five hits. He wasn’t involved in the decision for the first time in Big Ten play.
“We had to go to the bullpen early and Ryan came in and settled things down,” said Heller. “He wasn’t dominant by any means, but he battled and found a way to put a few zeros up there. We had a lot of guys step up.”
After going down 1-2-3 in the first, Iowa jumped on Michigan starter Jacob Cronenworth in the second to jump out to a 3-0 lead. After a Kris Goodman hit by pitch and a Dan Potempa single started the inning, junior Nick Roscetti laced an RBI single to left field, making the score 1-0. Potempa barreled his way around the bases and scored on the play on a fielding error by Cody Bruder, and Taylor Kaufman drove in the third run on an RBI groundout.
The Wolverines got one run back in their second at-bat, before Iowa stretched its lead to 5-1, stringing together four hits in the third. Iowa loaded the bases with one out before Roscetti singled in a pair with an RBI base hit up the middle.
Michigan ended Hickman’s day in the bottom half, scoring a pair of runs on three hits, including a two-run double from first baseman Carmen Benedetti. After going to Erickson with one out, the Wolverines plated their third run on a suicide squeeze, a run that cut the Iowa lead to 5-4.
After getting the hook after three innings, Iowa roughed up relievers Keith Lehmann and Donnie Eaton in the fourth, pushing four runs across the plate on three hits. Junior Joel Booker scored the first run on a muffed throw by Benedetti on a pickoff attempt, and Peyton, Potempa, and Roscetti had RBIs to stretch the Hawkeye lead to 9-4.
Michigan scored single runs in the fourth and fifth innings, before Wolverine reliever Oliver Jaske settled in on the mound, surrendering a single hit in the fifth, sixth, and seven innings. Iowa broke through against the freshman in the final two frames.
The Hawkeyes scored three insurance runs in the eighth, loading the bases on a Mangler walk and back-to-back singles from Peyton and Goodman. Potempa pushed the lead to 11-4, roping a one-out, two-run double off the wall in left field before Frankos safety squeezed in the third run, stretching the advantage to 12-4.
Senior Eric Toole started Iowa’s ninth-inning rally, singling with one out. Toole scored the 13th run on an RBI double from Peyton, a ball that sailed over the head of Jackson Glines in centerfield.
“It was great to see (us continuing to battle and put up runs,” said Heller. “We’re starting to see some guys who have scuffled a little or were injured come back. We’re getting them back to normal, and that provided an offensive punch like we had today.”
The Wolverines tried to rally in the ninth, loading the bases with one out against reliever Josh Martsching. Michigan scored one run on an RBI groundout, but senior Nick Hibbing closed the door, striking out Cronenworth swinging to send the Hawkeyes to their sixth straight win.
Iowa finished with 15 hits in the game with Potempa pacing the team with a 4-for-6, three RBI, one-run performance. Peyton finished 3-for-5 with three runs and two RBIs, while Goodman (2-for-3, 3 runs,), Roscetti (2-for-4, 4 RBIs), and Frankos (2-for-4, 1 RBI) all had two hits. Roscetti’s four RBIs were a career high.
Iowa (32-11, 14-2) takes the field for game two of the series Saturday at 3:30 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised live on BTN.
“Things can get crazy in this ballpark,” said Heller. “You may have to score several runs even if you get a quality pitching performance. We need to show up tomorrow like we did today with the same energy and approach at the plate.”