IOWA CITY, Iowa — A crowd of 1,312 saw the University of Iowa baseball team claim an 8-1 victory over Loras College on Tuesday night at Duane Banks Field. It is believed to be the earliest home opener in program history.
“The crowd was great today,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “I am happy we were able to get out and play a game in front of them.”
The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 5-0 lead over the first two innings and the Iowa pitching staff took over from there. Six pitchers limited the Duhawks to just three hits and they struck out 15 batters in the game.
Freshman Grant Judkins (1-0) earned the victory in his first career start. The Pella, Iowa, native allowed one hit and struck out four over three innings. Redshirt freshman Kyle Shimp pitched two shutout frames and four different relievers pitched single innings over the final four frames.
The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 3-0 lead in their first at-bat when junior Matt Hoeg hit a bases-loaded, opposite field triple that landed just inside right field line. Mason McCoy, Robert Neustrom, and Austin Guzzo scored on the play.
“The past couple of days we have been working hard on looking the other way,” said Hoeg, who finished 1-for-3 with three RBIs. “That was my approach today. I didn’t square the ball up that well, but it happened to hit in the right spot and we were able to get some runs out of it.”
Iowa pushed its lead to 5-0 in the second inning on RBI singles from Jake Adams and Guzzo before plating one in the sixth and two in the eighth. McCoy had an RBI groundout in the sixth and Tyler Cropley and Neustrom had RBIs in the eighth.
The Duhawks avoided the shutout, plating their lone run in the seventh against sophomore Sammy Lizarraga. Danny Paluch had an RBI two-out double.
Five of Iowa’s eight hits came from the top five players in the batting order. Cropley and Neustrom had multi-hit games. Cropley was 2-for-5 with two runs and an RBI; Neustrom finished 2-for-4 for his third two-hit game of the season.
Iowa (2-2) returns to action Friday, facing Alabama State in the opening game of the Hoover Classic in Hoover, Alabama. First pitch is set for noon (CT).