May 5, 2015
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By BEN SCHMITZ
IOWA CITY, Iowa — A five-run sixth inning sent the 15th-ranked University of Iowa baseball team to a 7-5 come-from-behind victory over Western Illinois on Tuesday night at Duane Banks Field.
Trailing 2-1, in the bottom of the sixth, the Hawkeye bats erupted, putting together five runs to take their first lead of the game, 6-2. Junior Joel Booker opened the inning with a walk and plated the equalizer on a Nick Day double down the right line. Tyler Peyton, Kris Goodman, and Grant Klenovich drew three straight walks to load the bases and send Day home for the go-ahead run.
Junior Nick Roscetti extended the inning with a double to left center field, scoring a pair, and pinch-hitter Jimmy Frankos capped the scoring with a double to left-center field, driving in Pickett, who pinch ran for Klenovich.
The Leathernecks wouldn’t go away easy. After back-to-back hits scored a run, Western Illinois’ Jake Moore went deep on 3-2 count to pull the visitors to within 6-5. The bats continued for Western Illinois, drawing a pair walks and a single to load the bases. Iowa got out of the jam by turning a 4-6-3 double play.
Still clinging to a one-run lead, patience at the plate allowed the Hawkeyes to grab an insurance run in the bottom of the eighth, all with two outs. Taylor Kaufman, Roscetti, and Frankos drew three consecutive walks to load the bases and Eric Schenck-Joblinske finalized the scoring effort by taking one off his right leg, forcing in Iowa’s seventh run.
“It was kind of a crazy day,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “It was a frustrating game on the offensive side. They walked us 16 times, and we only managed to score seven runs. We were in weird scenarios where they gave us those free bases and would get out of it via bad at-bats.”
Early on in what began as a pitcher’s duel, the Leatherneck bats opened in the fifth inning with a pair of runs off UI starter Nick Gallagher. Following a pair of singles to load the bases, Jake Moore gave WIU a 2-0 lead, lacing a two-run single to right field.
Trailing 2-0, the Hawkeyes answered in the bottom of the frame, plating a solo run to narrow the deficit, 2-1. Senior Jake Mangler got things started, reaching on a walk, moved to second on a passed ball, and scored on freshman Grant Klenovich’s two-out single to right field.
“We had some positives at the plate tonight,” said Heller. “Grant stepped up and put us on the scoreboard with a big hit. Roscetti and Frankos continued to swing hot bats, which helped us late.”
Gallagher started the contest and worked 4 2/3 innings before senior Brandon Shulista was called in for relief. Shulista (3-2) earned the win, tossing 1 1/3 innings while surrendering a pair of runs and striking out four.
Junior Luke Vandermaten entered the contest in the sixth and picked up his fourth save on the season. Vandermaten tossed three strong innings and held the Leathernecks to a solo run off three hits. It was Iowa’s school record 16th save this season.
“We got a good start out of Nick Gallagher,” said Heller. “He did a nice job, and I’m really proud of our entire pitching staff tonight.”
The Hawkeyes return to action Friday, opening a three-game series against Minnesota at 6:05 p.m. (CT).