NORT PORT, Fla. — Yesterday it was Jack Dreyer in the spotlight. Today it was senior Ben Norman’s day.
On his birthday, Norman racked up four hits and was on base five times to help lead the University of Iowa baseball team to a 7-2 victory over Saint Joseph’s on Saturday afternoon at the Snowbird Baseball Classic at CoolToday Park. The Hawkeyes scored three runs in the first inning, and added two in the fifth and eighth to put away the Hawks.
“I liked the way it started,” said Iowa head coach Rick Heller. “The guys came out with a lot of energy. Grant Judkins went five innings and pitched extremely well. Ben Norman, on his birthday, went 4-for-4 and had a great day.
“Overall, it was a good day. We played solid defense and had great pitching. We beat a good team in Saint Joseph’s.”
Norman, who went 4-for-4 with two RBIs, two runs scored, two stolen bases, and a double, led Iowa’s offense out of the leadoff spot. In the first inning, he singled to center, stole third, and advanced to third on a Zeb Adreon single. Adreon stole second, followed by an Izaya Fullard hit by pitch to bring up freshman Peyton Williams with the bases loaded.
Williams recorded his first career hit and first two career RBIs with a single through the right side to give Iowa a quick 2-0 lead. Fullard scored Iowa’s third run of the inning on a wild pitch to lead 3-0 after the first.
Sparked by Norman’s double to leadoff the top of the fifth, Iowa scored two more runs to extend its lead to 5-0. It was Norman’s third hit of the day.
“Luckily we had a good scouting report on the guy,” Norman said. “I got some good pitches in some good locations, got my barrel on it, and found some holes. I’m glad to get on for the guys and they can hit me in.”
Hear from the #Hawkeyes 🗣
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) February 16, 2020
Senior right-handed pitcher Grant Judkins (1-0) got the ball for the Hawkeyes in the No. 2 spot of the rotation, striking out six Saint Joseph’s hitters along the way. He retired eight straight batters before getting tagged for two runs on two hits in the bottom of the fifth.
The bullpen picked up right where it left off Friday, throwing four innings of scoreless relief.
Highlighted by junior Trenton Wallace, who threw three innings of one-hit ball without giving up a run. In his first appearance of the season, he recorded six strikeouts.
Norman drove in two runs in the top of the eighth to cap of his birthday and give Iowa a 7-2 lead.
Redshirt sophomore Ben Probst pitched a perfect final frame with two strikeouts in his first appearance since missing most of last season to Tommy John surgery.
- Norman’s four hits tied a career high he last set in 2017 as a freshman. It was the fourth time in his career he stole two bases.
- Sophomore Brendan Sher recorded his second double in as many days.
- With 12 strikeouts today, Iowa’s pitching staff has struck out 26 batters and only walked three in two games.
- The Hawkeyes out-hit the Hawks at a 10-4 clip.
- Iowa went 5-for-12 (.417) with runners in scoring position.
The Hawkeyes wrap up the Snowbird Classic on Sunday morning against Pittsburgh at 10 a.m. (CT). Iowa beat Pittsburgh, 10-1, last season.
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