NEW ORLEANS — Junior Cole McDonald pitched seven strong innings to lead the University of Iowa baseball team to an 8-2 victory over New Orleans on Sunday in its All-State Sugar Bowl Baseball Classic finale.
The right-hander (1-0) scattered three hits and allowed two unearned runs in the victory and he had four strikeouts to one walk. Redshirt sophomore Kyle Shimp got the final six outs to send the Hawkeyes to their fifth victory of the season.
The Hawkeyes and Privateers both finished the weekend with 2-1 records; Iowa was the tournament champions by virtue of winning the head-to-head matchup against New Orleans.
Iowa’s offense spotted McDonald an early 4-0 lead, plating two runs in the first and second innings. Senior Tyler Cropley had a two-run double in the first, hitting a line drive to left center field to knock in Robert Neustrom and Kyle Crowl.
The Hawkeyes pushed their lead to 3-0 on an RBI single from Justin Jenkins and Cropley’s second RBI stretched the advantage to 4-0 through two.
New Orleans cut the lead in half in the third with a two-out rally that was kept alive by a Hawkeye fielding error. Cody Ducote hit a two-run single up the middle to get New Orleans on the board.
The Hawkeyes commanded the rest of the game.
Austin Guzzo had an RBI single up the middle in the fourth inning and Jenkins tallied his second RBI in the fifth. The Hawkeyes added two insurance runs in the ninth, courtesy of a two-run home run from Crowl — his second home run on the weekend.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“This was a great bounce back for us after last night. Cole McDonald was outstanding and we played great defense behind him. Cropley had a nice day with three RBIs. Neustrom, Boe, Jenkins all had nice days. We had balance up and down the lineup, scoring in five innings.”
– The Hawkeyes out hit New Orleans, 12-3.
– Iowa had five players post multi-hit games. Jenkins (2-for-5, 2 RBIs), Neustrom (2-for-5), Cropley (2-for-4, 3 RBIs), Wetrich (2-for-2), and Boe (2-for-4, 2 runs) had two-hit games.
The Hawkeyes return to Iowa City to host Cornell College in their home opener at Duane Banks Field on Tuesday. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. (CT).
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