Baseball team splits with NIACC

The 17th-ranked (NJCAA Div. II) Iowa Central baseball team was forced to settle for a split against North Iowa Area in an ICCAC twinbill Saturday afternoon at Ed Barbour Field.

Following a 10-0 six-inning shutout in their opener, the Tritons (14-9 overall, 3-3 in the league) were blanked by a 2-0 count in the nightcap.

Noah Pickard went 3-for-4 with a RBI and run scored in Game 1 for Iowa Central. Tanner Buenting, Andy DeJesus, Damian Rutherford, Christian Montero, Michael Kinning and Justin Smith each added a pair of hits. Smith also scored twice and drove in two.

Tyler Vaughn (Fort Dodge) picked up the win in relief, allowing two hits and no runs over 2 1/3 innings. Vaughn walked two and fanned three.

“The first game we played really well, especially offensively,” said ICCC head coach Rick Pederson. “We banged out 16 hits and didn’t commit an error. Our pitching was a little shaky, though, in both games. We threw a shutout by walking nine guys. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen that before.”

Pickard collected two more hits in the second contest, while Buenting, Nate Steger, Jason Galeano and Kinning all recorded one hit.

Starter Joe Hawks was the tough-luck loser, surrendering only one hit and two runs – with three walks and two strikeouts – over 4 1/3 frames.

Both of NIACC’s scores came in the top of the fifth.

“It was frustrating to outhit (the Trojans) 22-5 on the day and only get a split,” Pederson said.

Iowa Central and NIACC (14-9, 5-1) will square off again here today. First pitch is set for noon.