On a cold and windy day in Iowa City, the Hawkeyes prevailed over Grand View in a low-scoring game, 4-2. The air temperature was in the mid-30s when the game got underway Wednesday afternoon and the wind whipping through Duane Banks Field surely made it feel even colder. The bats on both sides were fairly cold throughout, but Iowa's hitters sparked enough to come away with a win to improve Iowa's record to 17-9.
Grand View struck first, with a two-run home run from Tyler Smith in the second inning. That was the extent of the damage that they did to the scoreboard, though. Iowa's offense wasn't as explosive as it's been in recent games, but it just kept chipping away. Lorenzo Elion halved Grand View's lead in the bottom of the second with a sacrifice fly that scored Kyle Crowl and he tied the game with an RBI single that scored Austin Guzzo in the fourth. Elion's had a number of clutch hits for the Hawkeyes lately. Iowa finally took the lead in the sixth when Austin Guzzo scored on a wild pitch. Kyle Crowl scored an insurance run for Iowa when Brett McCleary got an RBI groundout. Grand View threatened a bit in the eighth with runners on first and second, but they got no closer than that.
Some of the action from Wednesday's win is available in this video and we hope to see you at Banks Field this weekend! pic.twitter.com/VSGhbS1UcD
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) April 5, 2018
Iowa's pitching was the story of the game, as eight pitchers combined to hold the Vikings to two runs on four hits, while striking out 13 batters and walking just one. Iowa's mid-week pitchers have had some rocky outings this season; just last week they gave up nine runs to Bradley (thankfully the Hawkeye hitters scored 13 runs to bail them out). Trenton Wallace got the start and gave up two runs on two hits in his two innings of work, though he did strike out three. Derek Lieurance, Jack Dreyer, Kyle Shimp, and Cam Bauman each had pretty identical outings: one inning, no runs, no hits, one strikeout. Shane Ritter threw one inning and gave up no runs and no hits while striking out two. Ben Probst was the only Hawkeye reliever to give up a hit; he gave up two hits but no runs in his 1/3 of an inning. Nick Nelsen came in and locked down the win at the end, giving up no hits and no walks in 1.2 innings and striking out four out of five batters. Iowa's bullpen could use a confidence-building outing and this seemed to fit the bill in that regard.
As noted, it was a pretty quiet day at the plate for Iowa -- they mustered four runs on six hits and drew just two walks. Elion was probably the player of the game at the plate as he went 1/3 and drove in two runs. Guzzo went 1/2 and scored two runs. Chris Whelan, Robert Neustrom, Tyler Cropley, and Brett McCleary had Iowa's other four hits.
Beating a 12-15 NAIA team isn't going to provide any sort of boost for Iowa's resume, but a loss would certainly hurt. They avoided that outcome and got some backups some playing time in this one, so mission accomplished. You'd like to see a bit more pop from the offense, certainly, but the cold, windy weather likely played a role in that as well.
NEXT: Iowa hosts Ohio State (19-8, 2-1 B1G) in a Saturday-Monday (all games on BTN Plus) series -- weather permitting.