KISSIMMEE, Fla. — Tyler Cropley’s two-run home run in the bottom of the sixth inning sent the University of Iowa baseball team to an 8-6 victory over Oakland on Saturday afternoon at the Sunshine State Classic Series.
The Hawkeyes move to 2-0 for the first time since 2014 — head coach Rick Heller’s first season at Iowa.
Oakland took an early lead in the top of the first on a Ben Hart RBI single, giving the Grizzles the 1-0 lead, before Hart score another run at the end of the inning, putting them ahead 2-0.
The Hawkeyes responded in the bottom of the first with a five-run outburst. Sophomore Kyle Crowl and junior Robert Neustrom had RBI doubles, sophomore Grant Judkins drew a bases-loaded walk to drive in a run, and Mitchell Boe had a two-run double to push the lead to 5-0.
Oakland tied the game in the fourth before Neustrom’s sacrifice fly plated Norman to tie the game at six. Cropley’s home run to left field put the Hawkeyes back on top.
Three Iowa relievers — freshman Jack Dreyer, senior Nick Nelsen, and sophomore Kyle Shimp allowed one unearned run on five hits over six innings. Nelsen (1-0) earned his first career win, allowing a single hit in 2 2/3 innings and he had four strikeouts. Shimp got the final six outs to pick up the save.
Iowa knocked out Oakland starter P.J. Piesko in the first without him registering an out.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“We fell behind early, but came back and scored five runs to get back on top. We were a lot better today offensively. We had nine guys with hits and then five guys with RBIs. It was a solid day on offense. We were not so sharp on the mound. We struggled with command early and late. Nick Nelsen came in and pitched great to settle the game down for us. Tyler Cropley hit a big two-run home run to put us on top for good.”
– Every Iowa started recorded a hit. Two Hawkeyes had multi-hit games — Tyler Cropley (2-for-5, 2 RBIs) and Ben Norman (2-for-5, 2 runs).
– The Hawkeyes had five extra-base hits in the contest (four doubles, one home run). Cropley’s blast was the 10th of his career.
– Oakland finished with 12 hits in the game and actually out-hit Iowa. The Grizzlies roughed up Iowa starter Cole McDonald, scoring five runs on seven hits over three innings.
The Hawkeyes (2-0) close out play at the Diamond 9 Sunshine State Classic Sunday, facing Old Dominion at 10 a.m. on Field 2 at Osceola Heritage Park.
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