May 3, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — After scoring nine runs in its last four games, the University of Iowa baseball team’s offense broke through in a 10-4 victory over Western Illinois on Tuesday night at Duane Banks Field.
“The last four games, the wind was blowing hard in and there was cold weather, so it wasn’t conducive to bust out 10 or 15 hits,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We were hoping tonight with a nice night that we would swing the bats better and we did, up and down the lineup.”
The Hawkeyes (21-21) scored 10 runs on 11 hits and took advantage of 10 Leatherneck walks. Two players — freshman Robert Neustrom and senior Nick Roscetti — posted multi-hit games. Neustrom was 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while Roscetti was 2-for-4 with three RBIs and a run scored.
Iowa ran early and often, finishing with a season-high nine steals. Senior Joel Booker swiped three bases, giving him 18 for the season; six Hawkeyes had at least one steal.
“The stats showed we could run on them,” said Heller.
Western Illinois plated the game’s first run in its opening at-bat on a safety squeeze from Adam McGinnis before Iowa tied the game in the bottom of the second on an RBI infield single from senior Jimmy Frankos.
After the Leathernecks up a two-spot in the third on a two-run double from Nick Schrader, the Hawkeyes answered with two in the bottom half, took the lead with two more in the fourth, added three in the fifth, and scored their final two runs in the sixth.
“It was nice to see us answer them,” said Heller. “The thing that made me the most happy was that our pitchers did a great job of not giving up any free bases. We played good defense and only had three free bases in the game.
“We were able to take advantage of quite a few free bases, stole some bags, and we got the big hit tonight… that was good to see.”
Senior Tyler Peyton led off the third with a stand-up triple off the wall in right field before Iowa got RBI singles from Roscetti and senior Daniel Aaron Moriel to tie the game at three. Roscetti had a two-run single in the fourth, and junior Mason McCoy, freshman Luke Farley, and Frankos tallied RBIs in the fifth.
The Hawkeyes extended their lead to 10-3 in the sixth courtesy of a two-run single from Neustrom. Western Illinois plated its final run in the seventh on a Cord Church bunt single, scoring Nathan Pollock, who led off the inning with a triple.
Senior Luke Vandermaten (2-0) earned the win, tossing three shutout innings. He scattered a pair of hits and struck out three in the outing. Six Hawkeye pitchers saw action with sophomore Nick Allgeyer, freshman Zach Daniels, and redshirt junior Josh Martsching tossing scoreless innings.
Nick Milligan (2-2) suffered the loss, allowing three runs on four hits in 1 2/3 innings. The Leathernecks utilized six pitchers in the game.
Iowa returns to action Friday, opening a three-game weekend series at Ohio State.