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Midweek tune up buoys Hawkeyes for weekend

BY IAN MURPHY | APRIL 16, 2015 5:00 AM

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Midweek games have not been kind to the Hawkeyes recently. The Hawkeyes lost four in a row dating back to a March 25 outing with Bradley.

But with the wind blowing into the park and a cool night, the Hawkeye bats exploded before an announced crowd of 834 for 12 hits and 9 runs in a 9-1 win for the Hawkeyes over Cornell College.

Junior Nick Roscetti said the return of the bats was exactly what the Hawkeyes needed against the Rams, and hat will give the Hawkeyes confidence going into a weekend series with Northwestern.

“It’s a really good confidence boost,” he said. “We needed this kind of game.”

Northwestern’s pitching staff has the third highest ERA in the conference at 5.75, meaning Iowa has an opportunity to continue the offensive performance.

The plan to combat that pitching staff, which head coach Rick Heller is capable of throwing high heat, is to crank up the speed on the pitching machine.

Still, the tune-up for the Hawkeyes against the Division III Rams was an important win for a team that simply could not find a way to win the midweek games.  

“Coach talked about it, kind of just relaxing,” senior Jake Mangler said. “On this team everyone wants to do it, and sometimes in baseball that isn’t always the answer.”

The offense was punctuated with a 4-run fifth inning. Iowa opened the inning with three-straight doubles from freshman Grant Klenovich, junior Daniel Aaron Moriel, and junior Joel Booker.

Booker’s and Moriel’s doubles each drove in a run.

Senior Kris Goodman soon followed with an RBI single.

The Hawkeyes also scored 3 runs in the runs in the third.

Overall, the Hawkeye offense opened up the floodgates to down the overmatched Rams.

“It went pretty much as planned,” head coach Rick Heller said. “It doesn’t always happen that way.”

The Hawkeyes still struggled at times, as they have throughout the season, with runners in scoring position, but that can be overlooked with the 12-hit performance. Against Bradley on Tuesday, the Hawkeyes managed 10 hits.

Recently, the Hawkeyes have relied on pitching and defense to get the wins. However, as good as the pitching was in surrendering 1 run on 2 hits, Wednesday was a win for the offense.

“We got good swings off,” Roscetti said “[We just haven’t gotten] that one key hit, and we got it tonight.”

The hits were there, several times over, but the pitchers performed well as Heller strayed from the usual rotation of one pitcher every inning, using only three.

Senior Nick Hibbing saw game action, throwing four innings and allowing only 2 hits and 1 earned run. Sophomore Jared Mandel pitched three innings of relief before sophomore Josh Martsching entered in relief.

At times all season, either the pitching or the hitting have not been there for the Hawkeyes, and it tended to be the hitting. However, both were on display against the Rams.  

And as good as the offense was, Heller said he thinks the bats can still be better.

“When our offense struggles, our defense and pitching pick us up,” he said. “I still think we have the potential to swing better.”

Follow @IanFromIowa on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis on the Iowa Baseball team.


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