Big bats lift Hawkeyes over Kansas


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Anybody who has made the journey out to Banks Field this spring to watch the Iowa baseball team in action knows designated hitter Dan Potempa for two things.

The first is his incredible power at the plate.

The second?  His walk-up song: “Turn Down for What,” by DJ Snake and Lil’ Jon.

And while Potempa has the market cornered in pump-up tunes, the rest of the Hawkeyes decided to take the song’s message to heart in their 12-7 victory over the Kansas Jayhawks on Wednesday.

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“It was a great thing to see, how these guys responded today,” head coach Rick Heller said.  “We were really dialed in at the plate today, and when you see so much two-out hitting, that’s always a positive.”

After a string of inconsistent games at the plate, the Black and Gold finally let it all hang out Wednesday, smacking around the Kansas pitching rotation for 18 hits.

It was their first 10-hit game since March 17 and the most they’ve recorded in a single game all season.

“It looked like it was going to be one of those games where you score all those runs early and let the other team catch up, but we didn’t let up all game,” Heller said.

As was the case in their 5-3 win over the Jayhawks on Tuesday, the Hawkeyes took advantage of a couple big innings to bury the Jayhawks before the game even got off the ground.

After being down 2-0 with two outs and no one on in the second inning, right-fielder Taylor Zeutenhorst and shortstop Jake Yacinich ripped back-to-back singles to put men on for Iowa.

They didn’t waste the opportunity.

Center fielder Eric Toole cranked a hard single down the first-base side, driving in both Zeutenhorst and Yacinich.

From there, the hit parade was on.  Deep balls from Jake Mangler, Potempa, and Tyler Peyton drove in the remaining base runners and put the Hawks up 5-2 going into the third.

“I think everyone up and down the lineup was seeing the ball big today,” Toole said.  “Me included.  With runners in scoring position, you just have to try to put the ball in play, so that’s just what I was trying to do.”

Five would have been enough for the Hawks in the past, but, like the song says, the intensity only went up for the home team.

The next inning, the Hawks again faced a two-out situation, and again they delivered. 

And again it was Toole driving in runs for the Hawks. 

The Council Bluffs native put on a clinic at the dish, going 4-for-5 with 5 RBIs.

“I got on base, and of course Mangler drives me in,” Toole said. “It seems like every time I get to first he hits one in the gap to drive me home.”

Just like Toole, Mangler knows the importance of capitalizing on opportunities when they present themselves.

“It’s huge for momentum,” Mangler said.  “I think when you score a lot of runs in one inning, sometime you can get the other team to lie down a little bit and keep pouring it on.”

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