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Iowa bats finally come alive

BY RYAN RODRIGUEZ | APRIL 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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Conspicuously absent in a number of midweek games this season, Iowa’s bats finally came alive Wednesday night at Banks Field, spanking 12 hits en route to a 9-1 win over Cornell College.

On a night when Iowa’s usually unflappable pitching fell victim to a number of bad bounces and mental mistakes, the offense kept its foot on the gas through nine innings, lifting the Hawkeyes (24-10, 8-1 Big Ten) to their first victory in a midweek game since March 31.

“I feel really good about how tonight went because it went pretty much as planned,” head coach Rick Heller said. “It doesn’t always happen that way, especially after a long night last night, but they came out with a really good effort with good energy.”

The Hawks’ previous three mid-week matchups ended with futility at the plate.

Outscored 25-10 against a trio of nonconference opponents, the Hawkeyes were frustratingly inadequate in the batters box, squandering quality starts from their pitching staff more often than not in the losses.

Needless to say, Wednesday’s thrashing of the Rams was just what the doctor ordered.

“We’ve had our struggles with midweek, and even on the weekends, we haven’t been hitting quite as well as we would like to,” senior Jake Mangler said. “So to have a game where we come out and put some runs on the board and hit some balls hard is a good confidence booster.”

Junior Joel Booker got the party started in the second for Iowa, roping a 1-2 pitch over second base and into center field before advancing to third on a Nick Roscetti single. He tagged up on a shallow pop fly to cross the plate and open a 1-0 lead.

First blood, Iowa.

With the waters chummed, the feeding frenzy continued for the Hawks. A 3-run third followed by a 4-run, five-hit fifth broke the game wide open.

For Roscetti, who went 2-for-3 with an RBI, it was only a matter of time before Iowa’s bats finally came out to play during a weekday game.

Still, it was nice for Heller and Company to see that potential finally manifest itself in the form of actual hits and runs on the scoreboard. 

“We really needed this type of game,” Roscetti said. “I think it really helped the pace we had going to just step in and get it done. You just have to trust the process. We got good swings off, just couldn’t get the big hit, but we got it tonight.”

Only time will tell if Wednesday’s win sparks the Iowa offense to a more consistent second half of the season or if the ups and down continue, but it was undoubtedly a step in the right direction.

And for Mangler, any game to boost the confidence of his teammates is invaluable later on down the road this season.

Getting back to baseball would go along way into solving those problems.

“On this team, everybody wants to do it,” Mangler said. “They try so hard, and sometimes in baseball it’s not the best answer, and that’s what we talked about before hand.  Just go out and play the way you’ve been playing your whole life.”

Follow @ryanarod on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa baseball team.


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