Iowa made a successful trip down to Alabama to face the UAB over the weekend, taking the first two games against the Blazers before dropping the Sunday finale. A 2-1 weekend record improved Iowa's record to 8-2 overall, which is tied with Purdue for second-best in the league (behind 9-2 Indiana). Iowa currently sits at #65 in RPI, which isn't bad given the relative weakness of Iowa's opening slate.
FRIDAY: IOWA 4, UAB 1
Iowa's bats were a little slow to get going in the series opener, scoring their first run in the third inning when Kyle Crowl singled in Justin Jenkins. UAB answered back with a run in the bottom of the third, but Iowa re-took the lead for good with a pair of runs in the fifth. Mitchell Boe drew a two-out walk and was scored by an error-assisted hit from Justin Jenkins. Crowl recorded his second RBI of the game with a single to score Jenkins. Iowa added an insurance run in the top of the ninth after Ben Norman hit a triple and scored on a wild pitch.
But the story of the game for Iowa was on the mound, where Nick Allgeyer continued his strong start to the season with another excellent outing. Allgeyer went 6.2 innings and gave up just four hits and one run, while striking out four and and handing out one walk (as well as a hit-by-pitch). Allgeyer has given Iowa an excellent option to lead off the weekend so far this season. Grant Leonard and Zach Daniels combined to pitch 2.1 scoreless innings to close things out, giving up a hit apiece while striking out three batters combined.
Crowl and Jenkins were the leaders for Iowa at the plate. Crowl had a team-high two hits, as well as two RBI; Jenkins went 1/4 and scored a pair of runs. Robert Neustrom kept his hitting streak alive to start the season, going 1/3, while Norman went 1/4 (with the aforementioned triple). Matt Hoeg got Iowa's other hit, going 1/3.
SATURDAY: IOWA 11, UAB 3
Iowa made it two in a row over the Blazers with a blowout win on Saturday, downing UAB 11-3 behind a strong day at the plate (and a poor day in the field for UAB's defense). That said, it wasn't a blowout from the get-go -- Iowa didn't score until the third inning, when they plated three runs, and didn't add to that figure until getting two more in the sixth. Robert Neustrom hit an RBI single to knock in Iowa's first run, then Tyler Cropley got hit by a pitch with the bases loaded, scoring Jenkins. Iowa's third run came on a sac fly from DH Brett McCleary. In the sixth, an error scored Matt Hoeg after a sacrifice bunt from Jenkins, while Mitchell Boe scored on a sacrifice fly from Crowl. In the eighth, Cropley and Austin Guzzo hit back-to-back doubles (scoring Neustrom and then Cropley), and one batter later, Ben Norman hit his second triple of the weekend to score Guzzo. Cropley knocked in Iowa's 10th run in the top of the ninth and Lorenzo Elion got an RBI single to score Iowa's 11th and final run.
Seven of 10 Iowa batters recorded at least one hit, with a quartet of players recording two hits apiece. Cropley went 2/4 with a double, a run scored, and three RBI, while Neustrom went 2/4 with two runs scored and an RBI. Boe went 2/3 with two runs scored and Elion went 2/6 with an RBI. Guzzo went 1/2 with a double, a run scored, and an RBI, while Ben Norman went 1/5 with a triple. As a team Iowa had 11 hits, but they found plenty of other ways to get on base too -- they drew a whopping 10 walks (Hoeg drew three by himself, while Neustrom and Jenkins each drew two apiece) and four different Iowa players also got hit by a pitch in the game. Iowa had at least one base-runner in every inning.
For the second straight game, Iowa also got a good outing from their starting pitcher. Brady Schanuel put together his best outing of the season, throwing five scoreless innings and giving up just one run while striking out seven. He did have a few command issues (four walks), but overall this was a great outing for Schanuel and much-needed after he struggled last week. Trenton Wallace replaced Schanuel and gave up a run on two hits, two hit batters, and a walk, while striking out four in 2.2 innings. Nick Nelson came in to get a strikeout to finish the 8th inning. Ben Probst had a few issues in the ninth -- he gave up three hits and two runs (one earned) -- but Iowa had an 11-1 lead by that point, so he had plenty of wiggle room.
SUNDAY: UAB 4, IOWA 0
Unfortunately, the good times skidded to a halt with the series finale, as Iowa's bid for a sweep was undone by UAB's best game of the series. Iowa was shut out for the first time this season and held to just five hits for the game. Iowa had opportunities to score with the game 0-0 in the fifth and sixth, but wasn't able to take advantage. Lorenzo Elion singled and Ben Norman was hit by a pitch to give Iowa runners on first and second with two outs in the fifth, but Matt Hoeg struck out to end the threat. In the sixth, Kyle Crowl hit a two-out double, but Robert Neustrom grounded out to end the inning. UAB scored off an RBI single in the fifth and pounded Kyle Shimp for more runs in the sixth to give themselves some breathing room. Crowl and Cropley sandwiched singles around a Neustrom double play in the ninth in what was Iowa's only multi-hit inning of the game.
Cold bats afflicted several Iowa players in this one, as three Iowa players combined for Iowa's five hits. Crowl continued his strong weekend with a 2/4 outing; overall, he went 4/12 with three RBI over the weekend. Tyler Cropley went 2/3 and got hit by a pitch; he finished the weekend 4/11 with a double and three RBI. Lorenzo Elion got Iowa's only other hit in the game. Robert Neustrom went 0/4 and was held without a hit for the first time all season. A day after drawing 10 walks, Iowa drew zero on Sunday.
Iowa got a pretty solid outing from Sunday's starter, as Cole McDonald went five innings and give up a run and five hits while striking out four and walking none. He was replaced by Kyle Shimp in the sixth, who did not have one of his better outings. He got just one out and was tagged for three runs and three hits. Grant Leonard replaced him and got the remaining two outs in the sixth while giving up a hit and no runs. Jack Dreyer and Shane Ritter combined for two scoreless innings to finish off the game, giving up just one hit and striking out two.
A sweep would have been nice, but a series win is still a quality result for Iowa.
NEXT: Iowa's scheduled home game against Maryville on Tuesday was canceled due to bad weather in the forecast, so the Hawkeyes will return to action in a three-game series with UNLV in Vegas this coming weekend. This series might be Iowa's first big test of the season, as the Rebels are 11-1 on the year and ranked 18th in RPI.