Well, that's one way to open up the season at home. Greg Davis and C.J. Beathard guided Iowa to four touchdowns and a rollicking wins over Northwestern College in -- wait, wrong Iowa team. (Although that one also has a penchant for destroying Northwestern teams.) The Iowa baseball team played their first home game of the season yesterday, taking on NAIA Northwestern College, and blasted them 28-0 in 6.5 innings. (The game was called by the coaches via a mercy rule at that point, according to Hawkeye Sports.) Even the Iowa baseball Twitter account was leaning into the football comparisons:
Iowa scored 5 runs in the first inning and 9 runs in the second to open up a 14-0 lead just two innings in. They added 2 runs in the third inning, 8 runs in the fourth inning, and finished up with 4 runs in the sixth inning. This is a pretty accurate highlight from the game:
The fifth inning was the only inning where they failed to score. The 28 runs was the second-highest total in Iowa history; they posted 32 runs (!) in a win over Quincy College in 1989.
There were some tense moments, though.
Iowa escapes the jam with a double play! 24-0 Iowa.— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) March 8, 2016
Cole McDonald started for Iowa and got the win thanks to pitching two shutout, no hit innings (with two strikeouts). No Iowa pitchers were taxed in this blowout, though -- Shane Ritter threw two innings, Sam Lizarraga threw 2.1 innings, and Jared Mandel finished things off with 0.2 innings of work. But the story of this game was obviously the hitting:8 Iowa hitters had at least two hits, led by DH Austin Guzzo, who went 3/4 with a double, 3 RBI, and 5 runs scored. (He also drew two walks.) CF Joel Booker, CF Eric Schenck-Joblinskie, SS Nick Roscetti, LF Luke Farley, C Daniel Aaron Moriel, C Jimmy Frankos, and RF Corbin Woods all had two hits. Iowa had five doubles and a triple in the game, so it wasn't a total power surge -- Iowa just had a LOT of hits (18 total), drew a LOT of walks (11), and took advantage of a LOT of Northwestern errors (6). All that really adds up. But home runs or not, 28 runs is still a heck of an offensive showing, even against a team from a lower division. Nicely done, Hawks.
Plenty of highlights in Tuesday's 28-0 win: https://t.co/baRXR5Am30— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) March 9, 2016
Meanwhile, Iowa's weekend series against Southern Illinois didn't go quite as well. Iowa wen 1-2 against Southern Illinois in Carbondale, Ill., losing the first game of the series 2-1 in 11 innings, winning the second game of the series 7-5, and losing the Sunday rubber match 6-1. The losses dropped Iowa to 3-6 on the season (they're 4-6 after the win over Northwestern College).
Friday's 2-1 loss was especially painful because a tremendous pitching performance went for naught in that loss. C.J. Eldred went 9 innings in that game, striking out 4 and giving up 2 hits. He came back out to start the 10th (he threw just 93 pitches total, so it was a very efficient 9 innings of work from Eldred) and unfortunately gave up one of his two hits, which eventually led to an SIU run after an error. Iowa's bats couldn't get much going in that game to help out Eldred, though -- they mustered just 4 hits, including two off SIU's starter, Joey Marciano. Marciano pitching 7.1 shutout innings, giving up 2 hits and 4 walks while striking out 7.
Iowa bounced back with a 7-5 win on Saturday, bouncing back from a 5-1 deficit with a 4-run sixth inning and then scoring one run apiece in the seventh and eighth innings to pull out the win. Ryan Erickson got his first start of the season and struggled -- he gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 3 earned runs while pitching 2.1 innings -- but the Iowa bats were able to get going against SIU pitcher Chad Whitmer. Joel Booker led Iowa with 3 hits and 2 runs scored, although Eric Shenck-Joblinske also had 2 hits in the game. Iowa also got some home run action going -- Austin Guzzo nailed a 2-run home run in the sixth inning to tie the game and Tyler Peyton got an insurance run for Iowa with a solo homer in the eighth inning.
SIU won the third game of the series, 6-1, behind another strong pitching performance -- Michael Baird gave up 6 hits, 2 walks, and 1 run across 7.2 innings of work for the Salukis. Iowa starter Calvin Mathews gave up 7 hits and 2 runs in 4.0 innings of work and SIU pounced on his replacement, tagging Nick Allgeyer for 4 hits, 3 walks, and 3 runs to blow the game open. Nick Roscetti went 2/3 and scored Iowa's lone run of the game, while Austin Guzzo went 2/2 and also drew 2 walks, but overall it wasn't a very strong showing from the Iowa hitters.
NEXT: Iowa heads back on the road this weekend going to Emerson, Ga. for the Spring Swing at LakePointe event. They have games on Friday (Nebraska-Omaha, 2:30 PM CT), Saturday (Seton Hall, 1:30 PM CT), Sunday (Savannah State, 11 AM CT), and Monday (Point University, 1:30 PM CT).