Game 1: Iowa (9-4) vs. Georgetown (6-9)
The Hawkeyes' weekend opener on Saturday was a complete blowout win. Emphasis on complete.
Iowa notched fifteen hits, including six for extra bases, en route to its fifth double-digit scoring output of the season. Starting pitcher Calvin Mathews tossed a gem, giving up only three hits in eight scoreless innings, walking none and striking out nine. Hawkeye baserunners notched three stolen bases, including a fourth-inning double steal of second and home by rightfielder Taylor Zeutenhorst and first baseman Tyler Peyton, respectively. To put some whipped cream on top: Iowa was error-free in the field. Aaaand the cherry on the whipped cream: It was Hawkeye coach Rick Heller's 700th career win.
Peyton got things rolling in the top of the first, bringing home centerfielder Eric Toole and shortstop Jake Yacinich with a two-run double. Mathews surrendered a leadoff single in the Georgetown first, but set down the next seventeen Hoyas in the course of his stellar outing. While Mathews was mowing through the Georgetown lineup, the Iowa lineup opened a tremendous gap in the middle innings. Catcher Trevor Kenyon brought home Zeutenhorst in the fourth after Iowa's aforementioned double steal to widen the gap to 4-0. RBI doubles by Zeutenhorst and second baseman Jake Mangler led the charge in the fifth, with Georgetown coming unglued in the form of two errors, a beanball, and a wild pitch, to help the Hawkeyes extend their lead to 8-0. Zeutenhorst capped a magnificent performance (3-5, 2B, HR, 4 RBI, SB) with a three-run bomb in the sixth to run Iowa's lead to 11-0. From there, it was garbage time.
Iowa (10-4) vs. Saint Joseph's (7-5)
Heller's 701st win was of the narrower variety. Saint Joseph's trotted eight ptichers to the mound, four of whom registered shutout work, and four of whom combined to allow nine runs (eight earned) in four-and-two-thirds innnings. Jason Holcomb took the brunt of the abuse, allowing four runs (three earned) and recording only one out during Iowa's six-run sixth inning while getting saddled with the loss.
Iowa got on the board first, manufacturing two runs on a pair of singles in the top of the third. A solo shot by Saint Joseph's DH Tommy Cunningham closed the gap to 2-1 after four. The Hawks (not the good ones) took the lead in the next frame with another long ball, this time of the two-run variety from catcher Brian O'Keefe.
Iowa exploded in the sixth, though, and took control of the game. Zeutenhorst walked to start the inning, followed by a Kris Goodman single. Enter Holcomb, who managed to record a backwards K of Iowa catcher Trevor Kenyon before melting down in epic fashion: wild pitch, walk, two-run single (4-3 Iowa), hit batsman, E5 (5-3 Iowa), two-run single (7-3 Iowa), walk. Mangler scored on a wild pitch after Holcomb's glorious exit to extend Iowa's lead to 8-3. A three-run eighth by Saint Joe's made things interesting at the end, but Nick Hibbing retired all four batters he faced to nail down the save for Iowa.
Georgetown (6-10) vs. Iowa (11-4)
Everything that Iowa's 13-1 win over Georgetown was...this game was not. Hawkeye starter Andrew Hedrick got straight-up thrashed for eight hits and six runs (all earned) in an inning and a third. Iowa's lineup managed only three singles in five innings. And then Georgetown, as hawktalker pointed out in the preview thread, rudely left to catch its flight before the Hawkeyes could try to put up a ten-spot (more on that in a moment) to rally for a miracle bottom-of-the-sixth win in an abbreviated game. Ugh.
Otterbein (7-1) vs. Iowa (11-5)
So Iowa didn't have to wait long to put up the ten-run inning it never got to try to post in inning number six against the Hoyas. About twenty hours after the Georgetown game ended, the Hawkeyes embarked on an epic thrashing of the Division III Otterbein Cardinals, capped by a juicy ten-spot (Iowa's second of the year) in the bottom of the eighth to emphatically put the game away. Iowa starter Sasha Kuebel went seven-plus, and left with the lead in spite of a slow offensive start for Iowa. A three-run sixth-inning homer by Zeutenhorst gave Iowa its first lead at 4-1. Otterbein chased Kuebel in the course of posting four eighth-inning runs to bring the score to a tense 7-5.
But then Hawk-pocalypse befell Otterbein. Two walks and a hit batsman started the Iowa eighth, and then Otterbein's Justin Lewis entered to play a similar role to Saint Joseph's Holcomb, proceeding as follows: fielder's choice (8-5 Iowa), two-run double (10-5 Iowa), groundout, walk, RBI single (11-5 Iowa), three-run homer (14-5 Iowa), single, double, two-run single (16-5 Iowa). Iowa tacked on another for good measure after Lewis left.
Zeutenhorst led the Hawkeye hit parade, going 3-5 with his home run and 4 RBI. Leftfielder Kris Goodman hit the three-run bomb in the eighth, and ended 2-3 with those 3 RBI and two runs scored. Jake Mangler, DH Dan Potempa, and third baseman Nick Day each added 2 RBI for the Hawks.
Taylor Zeutenhorst had a monster trip, going 7 for 16, with two doubles, two homers, 9 RBI, and six runs scored. The outburst leaves Zeutenhorst as Iowa's leader in home runs (4) and RBI (21), and second on the team in OPS (1.008). All hail Zeus!
Mathews' excellent start against Georgetown lowered his season ERA to an impressive 2.10. Iowa's pitching staff overall took some lumps, as the rest of Iowa's starting rotation now have ERAs of 4.70, 5.82, and 7.32, and Nick Hibbing, Iowa's most-used reliever has seen his ERA spike to 5.59.
The Hawkeyes return to action on Wednesday to take on Mount Mercy at 3:00 PM at Duane Banks Field. The Mustangs are 2-11 in NAIA play, so let's hope the Hawks put on another offensive display like they did against Otterbein. After Mount Mercy, the Hawkeyes enter Big Ten play with a three-game home series next weekend (3/21-3/23) against Nebraska. We'll preview that later this week.
EDIT: Iowa's home opener against Mount Mercy on Wednesday has been cancelled, "due to field conditions at Duane Banks Field." WELP.