WICHITA, Kan. — Senior Matt Dermody pitched seven strong innings and junior Keith Brand had a timely two-run single to lift the University of Iowa baseball team to a 4-1 victory over Nebraska-Omaha on Sunday afternoon at Eck Stadium.
“This was a great baseball game,” said UI head coach Jack Dahm. “Matt Dermody threw a heck of a game. UNO kept making defensive play after defensive play against us, throwing two guys out at the plate. Matt kept his composure and did what he needed to do.”
Dermody scattered five hits over 7 1/3 innings, allowing one earned run. He had a season-high eight strikeouts to one walk in improving to 4-0 this season. The southpaw sat down the first nine Maverick batters in order before giving up a single in the fourth.
“He had a good feel today,” said Dahm. “He was locating his fast ball and was throwing extremely hard and locating, and he could throw his slider in there. He had a good mix and could throw anything he wanted to at any time.”
After playing six scoreless innings, Iowa broke through with three runs in the bottom of the seventh inning. Sophomore Anthony Torres opened the rally with a one-out single before advancing to third base on sophomore Nick Day’s single to right field. Torres scored the first run on an RBI safety squeeze bunt by sophomore Eric Toole.
With two outs, sophomore Jake Yacinich reached on an infield single to load the bases before Brand delivered a clutch two-run single through the right side extend the Hawkeyes’ lead to 3-0.
Nebraska-Omaha got a run back in the top of the eighth inning when it finally got to Dermody. With one out, the Mavericks used a single, walk and a second single to load the bases to chase the Iowa lefty from the game. Hawkeye reliever Taylor Kaufman entered and induced a pair of ground balls, an RBI groundout by Clayton Taylor and a second grounder to end the inning.
“We could have kept Matt in the game, but we decided we wanted to give them a different look with Taylor,” said Dahm. “He did a great job limiting them to one run in that winning.”
Iowa pushed its fourth run across the plate in the bottom of the eighth. Freshman Blake Hickman opened the inning with a walk before junior Taylor Zeutenhorst singled to put a pair of runner on base. Hickman then scored on a double play ball off the bat of Torres.
Kaufman earned his first save of the season, allowing one hit in 1 2/3 innings.
Brand paced the Hawkeyes at the plate, going 3-for-4 with two RBIs. The three hits are a career-high. Day also tallied a multi-hit game, going 2-for-4 with a run scored. Yacinich went 1-for-3 to extend his hitting streak to six games.
“I was really happy with our approach offensively,” said Dahm. “Every time we hit a ball hard they were making a diving play in the infield, and we were snake bit, but finally we came up with that big hit by Keith.”
Iowa (8-7) will go for the series win Monday when it faces UNO in the finale beginning at 10 a.m. (CT).
“This has worked out pretty good where it is just like a conference weekend,” said Dahm. “It’s all tied right now. The team that wants it more and that comes out with more energy is going to come away with the win for the weekend.”