IOWA CITY – The University of Iowa baseball team pounded out 14 hits — five for extra bases — to defeat Grand View, 14-2, in its Duane Banks Field opener Tuesday afternoon. The win marked head coach Rick Heller’s 900th career win.
“It is always a time to reflect on all the former players that have played for me, all I have had the chance and privilege to coach, and all the great assistant coaches that put in all the hard work,” said Heller.” It’s a team milestone for me, and for all the guys I have had the chance to be around in my career.”
Four Hawkeyes recorded multi-hit games and five Hawkeyes scored at least two runs. Led by starter and redshirt junior Hunter Lee (1-0), who struck out six batters in three innings of scoreless ball, five Hawkeye pitchers combined to allow only two runs on six hits.
After Lee, redshirt sophomore Jack Guzek, senior Adam Ketelsen, and freshman Jacob Henderson combined to pitch 4 2/3 innings of scoreless relief, surrendering only one hit.
Iowa’s offense scored 12 of its 15 runs in the last four innings. Junior second baseman Izaya Fullard began Iowa’s scoring onslaught with a two-RBI triple to right center field in the third inning. It was Fullard’s first career triple and one of Iowa’s three triples on the night.
Fullard finished 3-for-4 with four RBIs — one shy of a career high. Fullard’s three runs scored also tied a career high.
The Hawkeyes led 3-0 after three innings and 5-2 after five. Sophomore Brendan Sher tripled to right center field to drive in two runs in the fifth. Iowa scored three more runs in the sixth on a Peyton Williams bases-clearing triple. It was Williams’ first career triple.
The Hawkeyes put the game away with a six-run seventh inning on four hits and two walks. Redshirt junior Trenton Wallace capped Iowa’s scoring in the eighth with a towering solo home run over the right centerfield wall to give Iowa a 15-2 lead.
“We came out and played hard,” Heller said. “We played great defense all night and had good energy. We had good pitching and got guys in the game that hadn’t thrown a lot, which was the plan, and they all pounded the strike zone.
“Offensively, we didn’t do a lot the first five innings, but we had runners on base and hit line drives right at guys. We were able to get everybody in the game. I was happy with how tonight went.”
The Hawkeyes have won three straight games and own a 6-4 record.
Iowa’s 15 runs were a season high.
Iowa pitchers struck out a season-high 14 batters and Iowa hitters only punched out four times.
In Lee’s first career start, he earned his first career win and pitched a career-high three innings.
Freshmen Jacob Henderson and Tyler Snep made their Hawkeye debuts.
Senior Austin Martin started his first career game in left field. Martin drew a career-high four walks.
Iowa returns to Port Charlotte, Florida, for the Snowbird Classic this weekend to face Western Michigan (March 6), Georgetown (March 7), and Army (March 8).