Iowa baseball notches solid win over South Dakota State

BY MATT COZZI | APRIL 04, 2012 6:30 AM

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Four runs. One inning.

That's all the Iowa baseball team needed to defeat South Dakota State on Tuesday night at Banks Field.

The Hawkeyes scored 4 runs in the bottom of the first inning and held off a couple of late rally attempts to win, 6-2.

Manager Jack Dahm's club was coming off a series loss to Indiana last weekend, so the quick start proved to be vital for the Hawkeyes (11-14).

Senior Mike McQuillan led off the frame with a single and later scored. Fellow senior Phil Keppler hit an RBI single to left-center three batters later, and outfielder Andrew Host connected for a 2-RBI double later in the inning.

"It was important to get off to that good start, but you have to tack on," McQuillan said. "That's what Coach [Dahm] emphasized today — you put up a crooked number in the first, you can't be satisfied with it. You have to put them away, so that's what we have to work on."

McQuillan, Jake Yacinich, Keppler, and Bryan Niedbalski all scored in the first. The Hawkeyes fell a bit flat for the next five innings though, recording just 3 hits over that span.

But Andrew Hedrick held strong on the mound for Iowa.

The freshman left-hander, in his fourth start of the season, proved to be effective. Hedrick (2-0, 2.95 ERA) struggled to command his pitches in the top of the second — after the long, 4-run inning for the Hawkeye offense — as he walked the first two Jackrabbit hitters.

Hedrick got out of that funk, though, and retired 10 of the next 12 he faced.

"I just tried to keep the ball down and keep their hitters off-balance," Hedrick said. "It's good to get that first win of the week."

The southpaw from Ankeny ran into some trouble again in the top of the sixth and exited after yielding a single, fielder's choice, and another single — all with two outs.

Hedrick's final line was 3 hits, 2 runs, and 4 walks in 5 2/3 innings pitched.

"He threw well early on," McQuillan said. "He had a couple innings where he might have got stretched out a little bit, so I think he could have lasted a little bit longer if he would have been more aggressive in the zone. But he did well, and we won, so that's all that matters."

Iowa was able to get back the 2 South Dakota State runs in the bottom of seventh — McQuillan led off with a hit by pitch and later scored on an RBI single by Zeise. Redshirt freshman Jake Mangler — who has been out the last three weeks with a knee injury — appeared in the seventh as a pinch hitter and promptly hit a line smash up the middle for an RBI single.

Mangler, who is now hitting at a .333 clip in 39 at-bats, was the Hawkeyes' leading hitter before he went down with an injury. Dahm characterized his status as day-to-day after Tuesday's game.

The Hawkeyes get right back to the diamond this afternoon, as they play South Dakota State at 4 p.m. to close out the midweek two-game series. Dahm is hopeful the offense will stay on track.

"I thought our approach has been pretty good over the last week," Dahm said. "We're not a team that's going to hit a lot of home runs. We have to get guys on, get them over, and score. We just have to stick to that approach and trust in it."

Follow DI baseball reporter Matt Cozzi on Twitter.

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