Iowa baseball's 2016 campaign didn't get off to the most auspicious start -- opening the season in Dallas against a potential NCAA Tournament team in Dallas Baptist was a challenge, but getting swept in that series still stung. So Iowa headed to Port Charlotte, Fla. for the Snowbird Baseball Classic (an event they've participated in for several years, probably because "Iowans" and "Snowbirds" go together like peanut butter and jelly) last weekend hunting for their first win of the season. Things got off to a bad start, with Iowa dropping an 11-3 decision to Indiana State on Friday, but business finally picked up on the weekend: Iowa beat Dartmouth, 4-1, on Saturday and walloped Chicago State, 15-3, on Sunday. The wins move them to 2-4 on the season.
On Friday, Indiana State's bats got hot in the fourth and fifth innings and buried Iowa -- they scored 4 runs on 3 hits in each inning. (A pair of Iowa errors, one in each inning, didn't help matters at all, although the Sycamores did most of their damage before the error in the fourth inning.) Iowa starter Tyler Peyton got roughed up, going just 3.0 innings and giving up 5 runs on 6 hits and hitting two batters. Ryan Erickson replaced him and gave up 6 runs (4 earned) on 7 hits, including several of those aforementioned runs in the 4th and 5th innings. Iowa's bats found a little more joy against Indiana State than they did Dallas Baptist in the season opener -- they managed 9 hits and drew 8 walks. Unfortunately, they could not buy a timely hit with runners in scoring position -- Iowa stranded 14 baserunners in the game. RF Joel Booker and SS Nick Roscetti probably deserve co-man of the match awards for the game -- Booker went 2/4 with a run scored, while Roscetti went 2/3 with a run scored and drew two walks.
Iowa finally got their first win of the season on Saturday behind an early offensive outburst and some solid pitching. Iowa got to Dartmouth starter Duncan Robinson early, posting 3 runs on 4 hits in the top of the first inning. Booker got hit by a pitch to get on base, then stole second and scored from a Roscetti single. A Peyton single moved Roscetti to second and an Austin Guzzo (DH) single scored Roscetti for Iowa's second run. Peyton scored Iowa's second run off a Jimmy Frankos (C) single. Small ball FTW! Iowa's only other run came in the fifth, when Roscetti reached on a fielder's choice, then stole second and then scored on an error. No Iowa hitter had more than one hit on Saturday, but Roscetti scored two runs, so he can have man of the match honors. C.J. Eldred started for Iowa and went 5 innings for the Hawkeyes, sprinkling 4 hits and a walk over those five innings of work and giving up just one run while striking out five. Nick Allgeyer replaced Eldred and he threw four shutout innings with four strikeouts to shut down Dartmouth.
Finally, on Sunday, Iowa's bats came alive -- with a vengeance. Iowa blasted four runs in the second inning to open up a 4-0 lead, then responded with three runs apiece in the bottom of the fifth and sixth innings to increase their lead to 10-3 after Chicago State had chipped away at things. Iowa tacked on five runs in the bottom of the eighth inning to complete their scoring binge. Iowa had 19 hits in the game -- no home runs, but they did manage six doubles, led by a pair from Roscetti. Good hitting performances abounded on Sunday: Roscetti went 4/6 with 2 doubles, 3 runs scored, and 2 RBI; Booker went 4/5 with a double and 2 RBI; Daniel Moriel (C) went 1/2 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored, and 2 RBI; and Luke Farley (DH) went 2/3 with 2 walks, 2 runs scored, and 3 RBI. Calvin Mathews went four innings for the Hawkeyes, giving up 2 runs (one earned) on four hits with one strikeout. Luke Vandermaten, Nick Gallagher, and Zach Daniels combined to pitch four shutout innings for Iowa to finish off the win, highlighted by Gallagher striking out five of the six batters he faced.
NEXT: Iowa (2-4) heads to Carbonadle, Ill. to face Southern Illinois (4-3). The Salukis went 1-2 against McNeese State to open the season and then lost to Austin Peay in a midweek game before sweeping Western Illinois (by a combined score of 22-1) in a home series last weekend. (Iowa plays Western Illinois home-and-away near the end of the season.) SIU should be a decent early test for the Hawkeyes.