Lorenzo Elion is having himself some week. Last weekend he produced at the plate with some critical clutch hits against Ohio State and on the field with a tremendous defensive play that got him on SportsCenter. His follow-up act in Iowa's mid-week game against Coe on Wednesday evening? Oh, he just hit for the cycle (single, double, triple, home run), hit two home runs, and drove in six runs. He had five total hits, which tied the Iowa record for hits in a game, and became the second Iowa player in the last decade (after Mason McCoy in 2016) to hit for the cycle (joining Have yourself a damn game, Lorenzo.
Elion Hits for Cycle in Hawkeye Rout pic.twitter.com/QEswz6la8f
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) April 12, 2018
Iowa was originally scheduled to make a trip to Peoria, IL to face Bradley in mid-week action on Tuesday, two weeks after hosting Bradley in Iowa City (a game that Iowa won with a walk-off grand slam), but a dismal weather forecast there led to that game being canceled. Iowa scheduled a quickie replacement game with Coe College from just up the road in Cedar Rapids. Coe entered the game at 13-8 on the season, albeit in Division III, but Iowa made short work of the Kohawks.
This game was pretty much over from the jump. 13 Iowa batters came to the plate in the first and they scored eight runs on six hits, two walks, and two wild pitches. An 8-0 start is a pretty, pretty good way to start the game. The highlights of that scoring binge of an inning were an Elion triple, a Tyler Cropley double, and a Mitchell Boe double that scored two. Elion extended Iowa's lead to 9-0 in the second inning with a solo home run. Coe scored their only run of the game in the fourth, but Iowa answered back with an RBI double from Justin Jenkins. Iowa added three more in the fifth with a pair of RBI doubles from Matt Hoeg and Elion and then a run-scoring wild pitch. Elion finished off the rout for Iowa with a three-run home run (his second dinger of the day) in the bottom of the eighth.
Iowa feasted on the Kowhawks' pitching in this game, racking up 16 runs on 17 hits while also drawing 11 walks and taking advantage of four wild pitches and three hit batters. Suffice to say the Coe pitchers had a few problems with control in this game. Elion was obviously the player of the game at the plate with his sizzling performance, but he wasn't the only batter who had a great day. Tyler Cropley also had a standout day, going 3/5 with three doubles and scored two runs and knocked in two RBI; Jeremy wasn't kidding when he said yesterday that it was time to take notice of Cropley and his red-hot bat. Robert Neustrom (2/3 with a run scored and an RBI) and Matt Berst (2/3) were Iowa's other multi-hit batters. In all 16 batters saw action for Iowa in this game, with nine recording at least one hit.
As usual for Iowa's mid-week games, heavy pitcher rotation was the order of the day. Trenton Wallace again got the start, but pitched only one inning, giving up no runs and one hit. Ben Probst replaced him and threw a scoreless no-hit inning before being replaced by Jack Dreyer, who threw two innings and gave up Iowa's only run on four hits, but also struck out three. Derek Lieurance earned the win for Iowa in this one and threw two scoreless innings while giving up one hit and striking out two. Shane Ritter, Cam Baumann, and Grant Leonard pitched the remaining three innings (one apiece), giving up a total of three hits, a walk, and no runs while striking out a combined three batters.
Obviously, there's only so much you can take from a win over a Division I team over a Division III team. But Iowa seeing Iowa dominate a weaker opponent is the desired outcome for a game like this; it beats the heck out of straining to beat a lesser opponent, like Iowa did against Grand View a week ago. And, hey, we got to see Lorenzo Elion produce one of the best games an Iowa hitter has ever had, and it's always fun to see a guy ball out the way Elion was in this one.
— Zach Mackey (@zach_w_mackey) April 12, 2018
NEXT: Iowa heads to Lincoln for a weekend series with Nebraska (doubleheader on Friday, April 13, with a third game to be played on either Saturday or Sunday -- specifics TBD).