After opening the season with a pair of weekend events down south, the 5-1 Iowa Hawkeyes finally made their home debut yesterday on an unseasonably mild February day. The only thing warmer than the weather was the Iowa bats, as they absolutely clobbered Cornell College in their Duane Banks Field debut, 15-1. Cornell College is just a Division III school, of course, but that's still a nice, emphatic win for Iowa.
Iowa jumped out to a 7-0 lead in the first inning and never looked back. They added another run in the second and one in the fourth after Cornell had scored their one and only run to make it 9-1; then they added six insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh inning to put the icing on the cake. Iowa's 15 runs came on just 10 hits; they took advantage of nine walks issued by Cornell pitchers, as well as two hit by pitch situations, and four Cornell errors. Eight of the ten Iowa hits were singles, too -- Tyler Cropley had a double and Tanner Wetrich had a triple for Iowa's only extra base hits.
Brett McCleary, getting a start at catcher while Cropley served as DH, was the top hitter on the day, going 2/3 at the plate with two runs scored; he also drew two walks. Justin Jenkins went 1/5 but drove in three runs; Lorenzo Elion went 1/3 and also drove in three runs thanks to a pair of sacrifice flies. Kyle Crowl, Robert Neustrom, Wetrich, Guzzo, and Zion Pettigrew recorded the other Iowa hits. Since it was a mid-week game -- and a game Iowa was winning handily after just the first inning -- Iowa also rotated heavily in the lineup to get several guys some plate appearances.
The spirit of rotation was also alive and well on the mound, where seven Iowa pitchers combined to hold Cornell to just six hits and one run. They struck out 12 batter and walked just one. Trenton Wallace got the start and had the longest outing, going three innings and striking out four while giving up four hits (no runs). Shane Ritter got tagged for the only run of the game in his one inning of work. Freshman Jack Dreyer gave Iowa some good work in relief, giving up a hit and a walk and striking out three in two innings. Derek Lieurance, Kole Kampen, Grant Leonard, and Ben Probst also saw action out of the bullpen for the Hawkeyes.
So yeah: a pretty satisfying blowout win. Not a bad way to start off the home slate for the Hawkeyes.
A look at Tuesday's win against Cornell College in the 2018 home opener: pic.twitter.com/w59vUnULrw— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) February 28, 2018
NEXT: Iowa returns to the south for a three-game series in Birmingham, Alabama against UAB on Friday-Sunday.