April 13, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Junior Mason McCoy hit for the cycle to lead the University of Iowa baseball team to a 22-2 victory and complete the two-game midweek sweep over Air Force on Wednesday night at Duane Banks Field.
“It was surreal,” said McCoy. “I haven’t had a night like that in a really long time. It felt good to barrel some balls up that didn’t get down yesterday.”
The Hawkeyes finished with 22 runs on 16 hits with eight players collecting at least one hit in the game. McCoy was the standout, finishing 5-for-7 with six RBIs and three runs.
The Washington, Illinois, native had a single in the first, a triple in the second, a double in the fourth, and a two-run home run in the sixth to become the first Hawkeye since Jason White in 2007 to accomplish the feat. He added a second double in the seventh to tie the program record for hits in a single game.
Senior Daniel Aaron Moriel had three hits, finishing 3-for-5 with a career-high four runs and six RBIs, while senior Joel Booker (2-for-5, 2 runs, RBI) and John Barrett (2-for-2, 2 RBIs) also had multi-hit games.
“We have a lot of respect for Air Force,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “This was their sixth game in five days and when you run out of pitching its tough. I felt bad for them, we’ve all been there, but on the other side, our guys didn’t go up there and waste at-bats.”
The Hawkeyes offense batted around in its opening at-bat, getting RBIs from senior Nick Roscetti, Moriel, and a two-run single from Barrett to jump out to a 4-0 lead. Iowa plated at least one run in the first four innings to jump out to an 8-0 lead and scored in seven of its eight at-bats.
“I felt that when the guys got to the ballpark today they were locked in and ready to play,” said Heller. “It showed because we scored runs right away. We had good at-bats up-and-down the lineup and had the opportunity to get a lot of guys in the game.”
The flood gates opened in the sixth when the Hawkeyes put up a seven spot to stretch the advantage to 15-0. Moriel had a three-run single on a shallow fly ball that fell in no man’s land, and McCoy hit a two-run home run to left field to cap off the inning’s scoring.
The Hawkeyes kept sizzling with four runs in the seven and three more in the eighth to extend the margin to 22-0.
Iowa’s pitching was just as masterful. Four Hawkeye hurlers limited the Falcons to just two hits and fanned eight over the first eight innings. Air Force entered the series with a .343 team batting average — the second best mark in the nation.
Freshman Cole McDonald (3-1) earned his third victory, scattering two hits and fanning five in four shutout innings, while freshman Sammy Lizarraga, sophomore Nick Allgeyer, and senior Luke Vandermaten threw four shutout, hitless frames.
“We got a great start out of Cole,” said Heller. “The only downer was Sammy having to leave the game with the pain in his elbow. That’s always scary. Hopefully that will be OK.”
Air Force broke through in the ninth, plating two runs on a pair of hits against redshirt freshman Kyle Wade, who was making his Hawkeye debut.
Iowa (16-15) returns to action Friday, facing Indiana in the opening game of a three-game weekend series in Bloomington.