Iowa Blanks UNLV, 3-0, in Series Opener

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IOWA CITY, Iowa – Junior Nick Gallagher and senior Josh Martsching combined for a three-hitter to lead the University of Iowa baseball team to a 3-0 victory over UNLV on Friday afternoon in the series opener at Duane Banks Field.   It was the Hawkeyes’ first shutout of the season.
Gallagher (3-1) pitched seven shutout innings to pick up his third victory of the season.  The Iowa City, Iowa, native allowed three hits and struck out six batters without issuing a walk. 
“I was attacking them with my fastball today,” Gallagher said, who notched his fourth quality start of the season. “Those guys, being from the West Coast, aren’t used to playing in this cold weather. We knew if we threw quality strikes, we were going to get outs.”
Gallagher retired 15 batters in a row during a stretch that lasted from the second to the seventh inning.
“Nick pitched well today,” said UI head coach Rick Heller, whose team has won four straight games to move to 15-9 overall. “He was in control of himself and worked quickly, which is important on a day like today.”
Senior Josh Martsching entered the game in the eighth inning and didn’t allow a hit in two shutout innings.  The right-hander walked one and had one strikeout to collect his second save of the year.
The Hawkeyes gave Gallagher a 1-0 lead in the third innings when sophomore Mitchell Boe tripled to left centerfield on a ball that fell between center fielder Kyle Isbel and left fielder Payton Squier because of miscommunication.  Sophomore Chris Whelan’s RBI groundout gave Iowa the lead.
Iowa added a pair of insurance runs in the eighth when junior Jake Adams doubled down the left field line. After UNLV elected to intentionally walk freshman Ben Norman, junior Tyler Cropley sent a two-run double to right field to extend the lead to 3-0.
“Tyler is hitting the ball well right now,” said Heller. “He’s starting to heat up. His two-run double was big for us. It gave us some extra breathing room.”
UNLV right-hander Alan Strong (3-2) suffered the loss, giving up three runs on six hits in 7 2/3 innings of work.  He had seven strikeouts in the game, but issued four walks.
Robert Neustrom (2-of-4) and Cropley (2-of-4) each had multi-hit games. Cropley had two of Iowa’s three RBIs.
The Hawkeyes return to action Saturday, playing a doubleheader beginning at 12:05 p.m. (CT).  Sunday’s game was moved up with rain in the weather forecast.