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Baseball rolls Wisconsin-Milwaukee

BY J.T. BUGOS | APRIL 14, 2010 7:30 AM

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Zach Robertson pitched five shutout innings, and the Iowa baseball team pulled out a 9-3 win over visiting Wisconsin-Milwaukee Tuesday night.

The Hawkeyes put three runs on the board in the first inning, sparked by four-straight hits from Kurtis Muller, Zach McCool, Mike McQuillan, and Ryan Durant.

Muller led the game off with a laser-like single to center before swiping second base. McCool drove him home with a single up the middle. McQuillan then smoked a 1-0 pitch down the left-field line for a double, plating McCool.

Durant followed with double deep left-center field to bring McQuillan home for the third run of the frame.

“Those guys have been doing a very good job for us,” Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said. “It’s important to jump out. That’s something we try to do. We want to get the lead and then continue to tack on.”

But the Hawkeyes didn’t immediately add to their lead, putting up zeroes for five-straight innings.

Dahm said that bothered him, and McCool said the Hawks need to keep an aggressive mentality throughout the game.

The Hawkeyes’ failure to separate themselves led to a tie game in the sixth inning, when Ricky Sandquist relieved Robertson and gave up three-consecutive doubles.

Sandquist was pulled before he could record an out, and the frame ended in a deadlock.

The Hawkeyes responded one inning later, though, putting up five runs in the bottom of the seventh.
Andrew Ewing was hit by a pitch before the top of the order again ignited an Iowa rally. Muller singled to center, and McCool followed with a two-RBI double off the right-field fence.

Four batters later, designated hitter Tyson Blaser stroked a ground-ball single passed a diving third baseman to score McCool, and two fielding gaffes from Wisconsin-Milwaukee resulted in the Hawkeyes’ final two runs of the inning.

Even though McCool hit the ball well, he still wasn’t happy with his plate performances.

“I missed two execution points right there,” the junior third baseman said. “I missed the bunt. Then, I was supposed to get a hit-and-run down, and that didn’t happen.

“But the biggest part right there was keeping my mentality in the right place, then fighting off a few pitches and the pitcher making a mistake.”

Those runs were more than Robertson needed. The senior pitched five innings on a limited pitch count, scattering four hits and striking out three.

“I’ve come out and been able to limit free bases,” he said. “I’ve been able to throw my off-speed pitches for strikes and keep them off-balance. Any time I can do that I feel I can go out and dominate a ball game.”

Patrick Schatz and Zach Kenyon finished off the last four innings for Iowa, allowing only two hits between them.

Dahm said the only downside to Iowa’s late inning explosion was that the seventh-year head man couldn’t bring in younger and less experienced arms from the bullpen.

But the Hawkeyes are carrying a swagger to the diamond, he noted.

“You look at our ball club right now, you’re looking at McCool, Muller, and Blaser. Every day, they’re playing at a very high level and with a lot of confidence right now,” Dahm said. “So that was outstanding to see, and we need it again this weekend.”

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