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Baseball takes two of three at Michigan

BY IAN MURPHY | MAY 04, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa baseball team used strong pitching to win, 2-0, the rubber game of its series against Michigan this past weekend.

Junior Calvin Matthews and senior Nick Hibbing put together the four-hit performance on the mound. The clinching victory Sunday gave the Hawkeyes their sixth-straight Big Ten series win on the season, seventh dating back to 2014.

“Calvin did what we needed him to do,” head coach Rick Heller said in a media release. “He has that Friday-night mentality.

“He went out and pitched fantastically, executed the game plan, located his pitches, changed speeds, and with the wind blowing in, he used that to his advantage. He handled the Michigan hitters.”

The first Hawkeye run came on junior Tyler Peyton’s two-out RBI single in the third that scored senior Nick Day. Day, who has battled injury all season, was in the lineup for the first time since April 13.

The Hawkeyes left the bases juiced in the fourth inning after loading them with one out.

The second run came in the fifth inning on a fielder’s choice by senior Kris Goodman that scored senior Eric Toole.

Toole reached on a single, stole second, and then moved to third on a fly out by Peyton.

The win in game three keeps the Hawkeyes within a game and a half of Illinois. The Illini, who swept Ohio State over the weekend, have won 21-straight games.

The Hawkeyes lost a game on Illinois after being shellacked by the Wolverines on May 2, 11-5.

The score was tied at 5 before the Wolverines broke the game open against sophomore Jared Mandel in the sixth inning.

Mandel walked two of his first three batters — who both scored a batter later — and the Wolverines added 4 runs in the seventh on senior Brandon Shulista and junior Tyler Radtke.

Peyton, who has been battling injuries in recent weeks, usually starts Friday nights and was chased from the game in the fifth after giving up 5 runs on 7 hits.

The May 1 matchup was almost exactly the opposite as the Hawkeye bats exploded for four multi-run innings and a 13-7 win. The Hawkeyes scored those 13 runs without hitting a home run.

Pitching was an issue for the Hawkeyes; junior Blake Hickman lasted only 2.1 innings and gave up 4 runs on 5 hits.

However, junior Ryan Erickson — who was credited with the win — entered in relief and gave up only 2 runs on 5 hits in 5.2 innings.

Senior Dan Potempa led the Hawkeye offense with a 4-for-6 performance at the plate, tallying 3 RBIs. Nick Roscetti led the Hawkeyes with 4 RBIs on just 2 hits.

Heller said he liked what he saw from his team on Sunday in the media release. The Hawkeyes will return to action on Tuesday at home against Western Illinois.

“I loved our approach today,” Heller said. “It was very business-like and professional. Our older guys did a great job, and I knew we were ready to play.  Today was a great day; it showed the character of this team, their toughness and will to win.”


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