Late hit boosts Hawks

BY JALYN SOUCHEK | MAY 17, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa baseball team may have lost its chance to make it to the Big Ten Tournament prior to facing off against Purdue for the final season series, but the season is yet to be a wrap.

Iowa secured a 2-1 victory over the Boilermakers in the first game, which went into extra innings and lasted two shour and 34 minutes. Iowa won with a go-ahead RBI single from sophomore Anthony Torres.

Iowa’s Matt Dermody, who went 9.2 innings, staged a classic pitchers’ duel with Purdue’s Robert Ramer, who tossed 10.2 innings.

“Those guys competed and made pitch after pitch,” Hawkeye head coach Jack Dahm said in a release following the game. “It was a great job by Matt to keep his concentration and focus and keep doing his job. That’s a mature pitcher who went out and played the game pitch-to-pitch, like we talk about.”

The game remained scoreless until the fifth inning, when Iowa struck first with sophomore Eric Toole crossing the plate after a wild pitch by Ramer.

Purdue then notched a run of its own in the bottom of the seventh inning courtesy of a Kyle Wood RBI single.

With the score tied at 1 in the bottom of the 11th, Iowa sophomore Nick Hibbing, pitching in relief,got himself into a jam with runners at first and second. That is when Purdue, first baseman Angelo Cianfrocco, hit a blast over the right field fence.

The shot originally was ruled a walk-off home run, but after Dahm protested the call, the umpires got together and ruled the homer a foul ball.

Dahm hopes today’s second meeting against the Boilermakers will set the tone for next year, starting on the mound. The Hawkeyes will send sophomore pitcher Sasha Kuebel to the mound.

Kuebel has begun to rebound from what has been his sophomore slump after a successful rookie season.

“He was struggling early on, and sometimes, when you have so much success as a freshman, your expectations are extremely high,” Dahm said. “Sometimes, you forget what made you successful. I give a lot of credit to Sasha. He was really struggling, he was really down, and he had lost his confidence, but you know what, he just went back to work.”

He never faltered in is freshman campaign. The St. Louis native had a 6-0 record, tossing a 2.67 ERA. He was named second team All-Big Ten and appeared in 13 games, all starts.

This season has sung a different tune for the sophomore, with a 2-8 record and 5.12 ERA. He began the season as the lead pitcher, taking the Friday starting slot. After struggling, Kuebel was moved around the lineup and only threw relief in three games, before settling in as the No. 2 man.

In his last two appearances, Kuebel has shown signs of the pitcher that he once was. In his most recent appearance, on May 11, Kuebel pitched a solid eight innings against Michigan State, only allowing 7 hits and 1 run in a 2-1 victory.

“He just had to get his confidence back,” Toole said. “He knows he’s a great pitcher, and he threw the hell out of the ball [against Michigan State].”

The weekend prior to playing the Spartans, Kuebel pitched another strong outing in which he threw for 91 innings against Michigan. In that time he offered 8 hits and 3 runs, while tallying 8 strikeouts. Iowa won the game in extra innings, 4-3.

It’s been a difficult process for Kuebel to determine the reason hat he’s struggled, but he’s happy with his recent outings.

“I’ve been thinking that myself.  You know, ‘What’s going on?’ ” Kuebel said. “But it’s felt good as of late, and I’m really happy about that turn around.”

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