Hawkeyes squander Peyton's performance

BY JACOB SHEYKO | APRIL 08, 2014 5:00 AM

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Facing an Indiana team that had combined for 20 runs in the first two games of a three-game series against the Iowa baseball team, Tyler Peyton took the mound for the Hawkeyes and went toe to toe with arguably the best offense in the Big Ten.

Peyton, a sophomore transfer from Iowa Western Community College, pitched seven innings, gave up 5 hits and 1 run, and struck out 4 in what was undoubtedly his best start of the season.

But unfortunately for Peyton, the Hawkeyes squandered his impressive start, giving up 5 runs in the eighth inning and dropping the final game of the series, 5-3.

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“I was just trying to throw strikes,” Peyton said. “That was my main objective, just make them hit it.
“All three of my pitches were working for strikes, it just felt good.”

The Hoosiers trounced the Iowa pitchers in the first two matchups between the teams — 6 runs in the first game and 14 in the second. But Peyton quickly shut down any hope of Indiana running up the score.

Aside from Indiana only collecting 5 hits off Peyton, most of the Hoosiers outs didn’t even threaten to leave the infield. On numerous occasions, he induced weak ground balls — mostly a result of his off-speed pitches — that resulted in quick innings and easy outs.

“He was outstanding,” head coach Rick Heller said. “It just stinks that we wasted that effort on a day when we could have got [Indiana].”

As a whole, Indiana’s lineup had given the Hawkeyes fits all weekend long, but two hitters in particular seemed to have the Black and Gold’s number coming into the series finale.

Kyle Schwarber and Sam Travis are not only considered two of Indiana’s top hitters, they’re widely considered two of the best that the Big Ten has to offer.

In Schwarber’s and Travis’ first two games against Iowa, they went a combined 8-for-19 at the plate, with 3 home runs and 5 RBIs. But against Peyton, the duo collected just 1 hit.

“He was locating early in the zone, and they like to swing early. So he was throwing pitcher’s pitches early in the count and getting them to chase a little bit,” Heller said. “He got ahead in the count, and that’s the key.”

Another aspect that Peyton had success with was keeping the ball within the confines of Banks Field. This seems like a simple task, but it had been something that Iowa struggled with in the first two games, giving up 8 home runs in the first two games.

Against Peyton, none of the Hoosier hits threatened to leave the park.

But with Peyton in the dugout, Iowa’s bullpen gave up 4 runs and squandered what had been a tremendous day for pitching from both teams.

“Anytime your pitcher goes out like that and gives you a really good start, you obviously want to have his back,” teammate Jake Yacinich said. “He pitched his butt off today, and all of us are kind of hurting, wishing we could have helped him out.”

Iowa hopes to compete with teams such as Indiana. With outings like the one that Peyton had, they’ll have plenty of more opportunities to do that. But in the future, they’ll have to make sure to finish what he starts.

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