May 8, 2015
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By BEN SCHMITZ
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Senior Eric Toole became the University of Iowa baseball team’s all-time singles leader, leading the 15th-ranked Hawkeyes to a 7-3 series-opening victory over Minnesota on Friday night at Duane Banks Field.
With two outs and the bases loaded in the sixth inning, Toole laced a two-run single to right field, to push Iowa’s lead to 6-3 and make history. The hit was the Council Bluff, Iowa, native’s 197th career single, passing Mike McQuillan for the top spot in UI history.
“Eric Toole is an outstanding and irreplaceable player,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “He’s done it for four years and been a great player since day one at this program. He’s been an all-conference guy multiple years now, and he deserves it.”
Toole finished the night going 2-for-5 with three RBIs and a run scored. The sixth inning single also moved him into fourth place by himself on Iowa’s all-time hits list with 227.
“I was happy with how we played overall tonight,” said Heller. “Our at-bats were outstanding throughout the game. We didn’t have a lot of hits, but we did an awesome job with (Minnesota starter Ben) Meyer in those first four innings. We battled and hung in there for multiple at-bats and had some clutch two-out plate appearances.”
Juniors Joel Booker and Taylor Kaufman sparked the initial offensive attack with a three-run showing in the third. The duo combined on back-to-back infield singles to put runners at first and second before Toole drove in the first run with an RBI single to centerfield.
The Gophers narrowed the gap to 3-2 with a pair of fifth-inning runs before tying the game in the sixth. Minnesota took advantage of a two-out fielding error to plate two unearned runs in the fifth before Matt Fiedler tied the game at three in the sixth, scoring on a Ben Bergren sacrifice fly.
Iowa regained the bottom of the sixth, generating a trio of scores on three hits and a Minnesota error. Junior Nick Roscetti got started with a single down the left line and advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt.
Junior Jimmy Frankos gave Iowa a 4-3 lead, knocking in Roscetti on a sacrifice fly, and Toole’s two-out single drove in a pair knocked in Kaufman and Booker to stretch the lead to 6-3.
A solo run in the seventh pushed the Hawkeye advantage to 7-3. Peyton applied the damage this time after reaching on a walk, advancing to third on a fielding error, and eventually scored on a bases-loaded walk from Booker.
Peyton earned his sixth win of the season on the mound, working seven innings and allowing three runs (one earned) on six hits with five strikeouts against one walk. Junior Ryan Erickson pitched a pair of shutout innings to finish out the win, surrendering a pair of hits.
“Peyton had some good stuff tonight,” said Heller. “Unfortunately we gave up a pair of runs in the fifth just before he got out of it. We let them back in the ball game, but he gave us a quality start.”
Meyer was charged with the loss, allowing six runs on seven hits over 5 2/3 innings.
The Hawkeyes (35-12, 16-3) return to action Saturday for a 2 p.m. start. Iowa will recognize its 1990 Big Ten champion team prior to the game.