March 29, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team rode the long ball, connecting on four home runs to post a 12-3 victory over Northern Illinois on Tuesday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
Trailing 1-0 after one, the Hawkeyes connected on home runs in the second, third, and fourth innings to take a 4-1 lead. The flood gates opened in the sixth when Iowa batted around, sending 11 batters to the plate in an eight run inning to push the lead to 12-1.
“Offensively we had some big hits, Robert Neustrom had a big day and Tyler Peyton had a grand slam to break the game open,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “Other than that, they out-hit us today, kind of nickel-and-dimed us at times. They kept plugging away and because we didn’t give up free bases, that hit never came. I was pleased with our effort overall.”
It was Iowa’s first four home run game since 2010 against Coe College.
Freshman Robert Neustrom connected on a two-run home run in the second with two outs, hitting a bomb into the teeth of the 25 mile per hour wind to right field to give the Hawkeyes a 2-1 lead. It was Neustrom, the reigning Big Ten Freshman of the Week’s, first career home run.
Senior Nick Roscetti followed with a solo blast, hitting a line drive to left field in the third to give Iowa a 3-1 lead. It was Roscetti’s second home run of the season. Senior Daniel Aaron Moriel followed with a bomb in the fourth, hitting a towering bomb off the top of the Sharp Family Video Board to stretch the advantage to 4-1.
The Hawkeyes broke the game open in the sixth, scoring eight runs on just two hits. Junior Mason McCoy drove in the first run, reaching on an error before Neustrom drove in his third and fourth runs with a single to right field, making the score 7-1.
After loading the bases, senior Joel Booker drew a walk to drive in the eighth run before senior Tyler Peyton delivered Iowa’s fourth home run to clear the bases. The Grimes, Iowa, native connected on his first career grand slam to left centerfield to stretch the Hawkeye lead to 12-1.
Seven Iowa pitchers saw action, finishing with 10 strikeouts without issuing a walk. Redshirt junior Josh Martsching went two perfect innings, striking out a pair to earn the victory. NIU scored two runs on four hits against freshman Zach Daniels in the top of the ninth.
“We didn’t give a free bag today with a lot of guys throwing, and that’s a big deal today with the wind blowing out,” said Heller. “You survive solo home runs, but if you give up a couple of free bases and give up a home run, it gets you beat.”
Neustrom and Roscetti paced Iowa at the plate, collecting multi-hit games. Neustrom was 2-for-3 with a career-high four RBIs and two runs scored, while Roscetti was 2-for-5 with an RBI. Peyton matched a career high with four RBIs.
Iowa (10-12) returns to action Friday, opening a three-game series at Minnesota. Game time is 3:05 p.m. (CT) from Siebert Field.