Baseball Hawks show off offense in rout

BY RYAN YOUNG | MARCH 26, 2009 7:40 AM

Iowa’s offense came through in the clutch Wednesday evening.

Against Division-III Coe College, the Hawkeyes plated five of their eight runs on two outs in an 8-2 thumping at Banks Field.

Junior right-handed hurler Zach Robertson recorded his second win of the season against the Kohawks before an announced crowd of 225. Pitching through five innings, the Iowa Central transfer surrendered just one run on two hits while racking up five strikeouts.

The victory not only puts Iowa at 8-10 overall before beginning Big Ten play with conference power Michigan on Friday, it also stands as a point of pride for the team during the fifth week of the season.

“We really pride ourselves in being able to continue to score runs with two outs,” senior first baseman T.J. Cataldo said. “You know, the inning is never over until that third out is made, so we just kept locked into our approach and worked from there.”

Nearly batting around in the bottom of the first, Iowa tallied three early runs on three two-out hits.
Cataldo brought in the first RBI of the game on a hard-hit liner that evaded the glove of Coe first baseman Pat Richmond, allowing Hawkeye freshman Kurtis Muller to score from second as the deflected ball trickled around the infield.

Soon after, redshirt freshman Phil Keppler added two more runs for Iowa on a ground-ball single into right field.

The Kohawks, though, responded immediately in the second inning. Center fielder Ryan Velvick scorched a leadoff home run, cutting the lead to 3-1.

But freshman catcher Dallas Burke opened with a leadoff homer of his own in bottom of the frame — the first of long ball of his career. Afterwards, fellow freshman Mike McQuillan extended the Hawkeyes’ lead to 5-1 with a two-out RBI double.

“Obviously, the [Coe pitchers] weren’t throwing the ball real hard, so you know, we were just trying to get up and on the plate and move the baseball,” said senior shortstop Justin Toole, who went 1-for-4 with a triple. “Getting ahead early in games like this with the way Z-Rob was pitching on the mound, you know, it gets things going pretty well.”

Iowa began fielding alternates in the sixth inning, starting with senior Kody McManis, who came in to relieve Burke from behind the plate before five other bench players came in during the seventh.

In the final three innings, the Hawkeyes managed two insurance runs to put the game further out of reach for Coe, who trailed 8-1 heading into the top the ninth. But a pair of late fielding errors by Iowa, allowed the Kohawks to score one final run before Hawkeye closer Mike Schurz sealed the victory with a strikeout.

Despite the minor collapse, though, Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said he was satisfied with the Hawkeyes’ overall performance.

“We got a little sloppy at the end in the last inning,” Dahm said. “I’m not happy to put three errors up on the board, but again, I think a couple of those, we could have eliminated by making better decisions.”

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