March 13, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
EMERSON, Ga. — An eight-run fifth inning propelled the University of Iowa baseball team to a 14-4 victory over Savannah State on Sunday afternoon in the third of four games at the Spring Swing at LakePoint.
Trailing 4-2 heading to the fifth, the Hawkeyes sent 12 batters to the plate, collecting five hits and scoring eight runs to take a 10-4 lead. Freshman Robert Neustrom, junior Mason McCoy, and freshman Zach Daniels drove in the first three runs before senior Joel Booker launched a three-run shot to left field to push the lead to 10-4.
“The guys fought back, they made a mistake, and we were able to capitalize on it,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We had a bunch of guys that had multiple hits and clutch hits, which was good to see. Guys stepped up with some two-out knocks, and that’s what we need to get going.”
The Hawkeyes added to their advantage in the sixth, scoring three runs on five hits. Neustrom doubled to lead off the inning before scoring on a two-out RBI single from Booker. Senior Nick Roscetti and Tyler Peyton followed with back-to-back RBI base hits to stretch Iowa’s lead to 13-4.
Iowa’s final run came in the top of the ninth on a sacrifice fly from senior John Barrett.
The Hawkeyes tied a season high with 19 hits, coming from nine different players. Booker (3-for-6, 4 RBIs, 2 runs), Neustrom (3-for-6, 2 R, 1 RBI), McCoy (3-for-6, RBI, R), and Daniels (3-for-4, 2 R) all had three hits. Roscetti (2-for-4) and Peyton (2-for-5) also had multi-hit games.
“Overall, it was a good game, we got everybody in the game for the most part, and we played a clean game defensively,” said Heller.
Sophomore Nick Gallagher (2-1) earned his second straight win, throwing 5 1/3 innings of three-hit ball in relief. He had four strikeouts and didn’t issue a free base. Senior Calvin Mathews allowed four runs on two hits in 3 2/3, striking out four and walking three.
“Nick did a nice job,” said Heller. “He settled in after the first where he was a little erratic, but from there he was very efficient.”
Savannah State grabbed an early lead just two batters into the game when Jonathan Moore connected on a two-run home run to left field off Mathews. The Tigers’ Elder Mendez made the score 3-0, crossing the plate on a wild pitch.
Iowa cut the lead in half in its second at-bat with sophomore Austin Guzzo jump-started the offense with a solo home run to left field to make the score 3-1. Freshman Luke Farley followed with a walk, moved to second on a wild pitch, and scored on a Corbin Woods RBI single.
Savannah State plated its final run in the fourth inning, using a two-out rally. A walk and two singles loaded the bases before Jacob Lightle delivered an RBI single to right field to stretch the Tigers’ lead to 4-2.
Greg Hollman (0-2) suffered the loss, allowing seven runs (five earned) on seven hits in 4 1/3 innings. Iowa scored at least one run against four of Savannah State’s five relievers.
Iowa (5-8) closes out play in Georgia on Monday, facing NAIA foe, Point University, at 1:30 p.m. (CT). Freshman Cole McDonald will take the ball for the Hawkeyes.