May 13, 2016
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By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — Michigan State hit the game’s first pitch for a solo home run in a 5-1 series-opening victory over the University of Iowa baseball team Friday night at Duane Banks Field.
“It was a tough loss,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “They played well and swung the bat up and down the lineup. We had a couple of chances with two outs, but couldn’t get a two-out hit.
“They were feeling it and you could tell. C.J. (Eldred) battled for us, but he didn’t have his best stuff. When he missed, they made him pay.”
After Brandon Hughes deposited C.J. Eldred’s first pitch over the right field fence in the first, the Spartans stretched its lead to 3-0 with a two-run second. Kory Young had a sacrifice fly and Jordan Zimmerman had an RBI single to right field.
Michigan State pushed its lead to 5-0 with single runs in the fourth and fifth innings.
The Hawkeyes threatened throughout the game, twice leaving the bases loaded and stranding 11 runners on the night. Iowa finished 2-for-10 with runners in scoring position, and it couldn’t break through on the scoreboard until the eighth.
Junior Mason McCoy started the inning with a one-out bunt single and he advanced to second base on the play via a Spartan throwing error. Freshman Robert Neustrom drove in the run with an RBI single to right field to cut the deficit to 5-1, but the Hawkeyes stranded its final two runners when pinch-hitter Luke Farley struck out looking to end the inning.
Neustrom and senior Eric Schenck-Joblinske collected five of Iowa’s seven hits in the game. Neustrom was 3-for-4 with an RBI; it was his sixth three-hit game of the year. Schenck-Joblinske finished 2-for-3.
Eldred (2-8) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits over six innings. He had five strikeouts to two walks in the contest. Michigan State’s Ethan Landon (7-2) earned the win, scattering four hits over six shutout innings.
Game two of the series will begin at 2:05 p.m. (CT) Saturday.