By JAMES ALLAN
BOCA CHICA, Dominican Republic — The University of Iowa baseball team opened its foreign trip with a 9-4 victory over the Dominican Army National Team on Sunday afternoon at Ozorio Field.
“It was a great first day,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. ” To be in this environment and come out and play as well as we did was outstanding. We got a great start out of Drake Robison; we were hoping for three innings and he gave us five.
“We didn’t have a whole lot of free bases, and got some clutch hits. Justin Jenkins had a big two-out knock to get us going… you couldn’t have asked for a better first day especially under the circumstances.”
Robison earned the victory, tossing five shutout innings. The right-hander allowed two hits and struck out five without issuing a walk.
The Hawkeyes jumped out to an early lead with a three-run second inning. Junior Jake Adams singled to start the frame before a Chris Whelan walk and Matt Hoeg single loaded the bases. Sophomore Mitchell Boe’s sacrifice fly drove in the first run before freshman Justin Jenkins extended the lead with a two-run double down the right field line.
Whelan singled and scored Iowa’s fourth run in the sixth. He crossed the plate on a delayed steal when Boe took off from first and stayed alive in a run-down situation. The Hawkeyes put the game away with five runs over the final two frames.
Freshman Kyle Crowl doubled off the wall in centerfield in the eighth to plate a pair of runs and Jenkins tallied his third RBI of the game with a groundout, stretching the lead to 7-0. Iowa loaded the bases in the ninth with two runs scoring on a hit by pitch and walk.
The Dominican team avoided the shutout by scoring three runs in the eighth and one in the ninth. The Hawkeyes’ pitching staff allowed three runs on eight hits in the game and finished with seven strikeouts.
Jenkins finished 2-for-5 with a double and three RBIs for the game, while Neustrom (2-for-5, RBI), Adams (2-for-5, 2 runs), and Boe (2-for-4, RBI) all had had two hits.
Iowa returns to action Monday at 12:30 p.m. (CT), facing the Texas Rangers Baseball Academy team at the Rangers Complex.