Iowa Blasts Its Way To 1st Win

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TAMPA, Fla. — Freshman Kyle Crowl’s two-run, ninth-inning home run – one of three Hawkeye home runs on the day — sent the University of Iowa baseball team to a 4-2 victory over South Florida on Saturday afternoon at USF Baseball Stadium.
The victory was Iowa’s first of the 2017 season and it evens the three-game series at one game apiece heading into Sunday’s rubber match. 
“I’m proud of our guys,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “After a tough loss yesterday, we bounced back with good energy, focus, and played hard.”
Following a two hour and 41 minute rain delay, South Florida tied the game at two on a solo home from Joe Genord against Iowa reliever Cole McDonald.  The Hawkeyes regained the lead in the ninth.
Sophomore Chris Whelan led off the inning with a double into the left center field gap before Crowl connected on an 0-1 pitch against USF’s Michael Farley to give the Hawkeyes a 4-2 lead.  The hit was the first of Crowl’s career.
McDonald pitched around a single and hit by pitch in the bottom of the ninth to give Iowa its first victory.  The right-hander (1-0) earned his first victory, allowing one run on two hits with four strikeouts over three innings.
Junior C.J. Eldred was strong in the start, surrendering a single run on three hits over six innings.  He exited the game following the rain delay.
“C.J. pitched well,” said Heller. “He gave up the leadoff triple and almost got out of that inning. Had the rain not come, he might have pitched another two innings. His pitch count was down and he was efficient today.
“Cole did a nice job coming in and closing out the game.”
South Florida got its bats going early when Kevin Merrell tripled to lead off the game before scoring on an RBI groundout.  Eldred settled in and the Hawkeye offense got going in the sixth.
After being stifled by USF’s Shane McClanahan over the first four innings, Iowa’s offense came to life against USF reliever Ryan Valdes. Senior Mason McCoy led off the sixth with a solo home run to left field to get the Hawkeyes on the board before junior Jake Adams hit a towering solo shot over the palm trees beyond the fences in left field to give Iowa a 2-1 lead.