April 22, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — No. 18/21 Michigan jumped out to a 5-0 lead and held off the University of Iowa baseball team for a 8-4 series-opening victory Friday night at Duane Banks Field.
“If we played our best and played how we’ve been playing the last few weeks, we could have gotten this one,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We had our chances, rallied for four, and they ended up bouncing back. We fought hard, but didn’t play our best baseball.”
The Hawkeyes brought the game-tying run to the plate in the bottom of the ninth inning against Wolverine reliever Jackson Lamb courtesy of a Joel Booker double and a hit by pitch and walk from Tyler Peyton and Jimmy Frankos.
After Mason McCoy flied out to right field for the second out, freshman Robert Neustrom stepped to the plate with the game in the balance. The Sioux City, Iowa, native just missed hitting a game-tying grand slam, but Michigan centerfielder Cody Bruder tracked the ball down at the wall in right centerfield to stave off the Hawkeye rally.
“I thought it was gone when it came off his bat,” said Heller. “I know (the ball) doesn’t carry well at night, but the (Michigan’s home run) in the half inning before did get out. (Robert’s) had more air under it and held up enough, but he gave it a good run.”
Trailing 5-0 through 5 1/2 innings, the Hawkeyes put together a four-run rally in the sixth. Seniors Nick Roscetti and Frankos started the inning with back-to-back singles and Roscetti scored the first run on a Michigan throwing error when Wolverine catcher Harrison Wenson’s pickoff throw caromed off the bat of McCoy.
Iowa loaded the bases against Michigan starter Brett Adcock via consecutive walks before sophomore Austin Guzzo drew a walk against reliever Mac Lozer to force in the second run. Senior Eric Schenck-Joblinske followed by reaching on a fielding error to make the score 5-3, and Zach Daniels drew a bases-loaded walk to cut the deficit to 5-4.
With one out, Michigan went to reliever Carmen Benedetti. The Wolverines caught a break when Guzzo was thrown out at the plate on a bang-bang play, attempting to score on a wild pitch, and Benedetti struck out Joel Booker looking to end the inning and strand a pair.
“Their catcher and pitcher made a great play,” said Heller.
Michigan plated an insurance run on a Michael Brdar RBI single in the seventh and got some more breathing room in the ninth courtesy of a two-run home run from Drew Lugbauer, making the score 8-4.
The Wolverines jumped out to a 5-0 lead, plating five runs (four earned) against UI starter C.J. Eldred in the first five innings. Michigan scored three in the third on four hits and one Iowa error and single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
Eldred (2-5) suffered the loss, allowing five runs (four earned) on nine hits over five innings. He fanned six. Adcock (5-3) earned the victory, allowing four runs on four hits over 5 1/3. He struck out six, but issued five walks.
Iowa finished with six hits in the game, two coming from Roscetti, who finished 2-for-4. The Hawkeyes stranded 11 in the game and were 1-for-15 with runners on base.
Game two of the series will begin at 3:05 p.m. (CT) Saturday.