March 25, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team rode the momentum from a four-run second inning and got a complete game gem from C.J. Eldred to pick up an 8-1 victory over Maryland in the Big Ten Conference opener on Friday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
After falling behind 1-0 in the first inning, the Hawkeyes broke through against Terrapin All-American Mike Shawaryn in the second with a two-out rally.
Junior Mason McCoy doubled and senior Eric Schenck-Joblinske was hit by a pitch to put two runners on for Robert Neustrom. The freshman delivered, hitting the first pitch he saw off the wall in left field for a two-run double to give Iowa a 2-1 advantage.
With the lineup turning over, senior Joel Booker cleared the bases with a home run on a rope to left field to give Iowa a 4-1 lead.
“That was good to see against an All-America pitcher and one of the top guys out there,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Our guys, up and down the lineup, were dialed in. They were focused and confident and when he left a pitch up and hittable, we hammered it.”
Eldred settled in on the mound and Iowa’s defense made the plays behind him. The Terrapins put runners on in the second, third, and fifth innings, but the Hawkeyes used inning-ending double plays in each frame to keep Maryland off the board.
“That’s part of my game plan,” said Eldred. “If a guy gets on first, I am going to try to get it on the ground. If I stay knee high or lower, they’re not going to get it in the air. I want to trust the infield behind me; they do a great job and have all year. It’s a lot easier to pitch like that.”
After giving up a pair of hits and a run in the first, Eldred (2-2) surrendered four hits the rest of the way to earn his second victory of the season. He notched his first career complete game, finishing with a career nine strikeouts to two walks in the outing.
“C.J. pitched a great game,” said Heller. “I couldn’t be happier for him, it was a tremendous performance. He has deserved better this season; he hasn’t had much run support and he has thrown quality games for us. He keeps battling; that’s why he’s out there.”
The Hawkeyes tacked on insurance runs in the fifth, two in the seventh, and one in the eighth. Senior Jimmy Frankos had an RBI single in the fifth, sophomore Austin Guzzo had RBI doubles in the seventh and eighth, and junior Mason McCoy had an infield RBI single.
Shawaryn (2-2) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on eight hits over five innings. He had eight strikeouts, but issued three free bases via a walk and two hit by pitches. Iowa scored three runs on five hits against three Terrapin relievers.
Iowa’s offense was balanced with six players posting multi-hit games in a 13-hit output. Guzzo led the way with a 3-for-4, two double, two-RBI performance, while Booker was 2-for-5 with a home run and two RBIs. Peyton scored three runs and Neustrom had two RBIs.
Game two of the series begins Saturday at 2:05 p.m. (CT).