Triton baseball squad sweeps

The 17th-ranked (NJCAA Div. II) Iowa Central baseball team took two different routes to a doubleheader sweep of ICCAC rival North Iowa Area here Sunday afternoon at Ed Barbour Field.

After rolling to a 10-0 shutout in Game 1, the Tritons (16-9 overall, 5-3 in the league) narrowly escaped with a 4-3 victory in the second contest.

“We got two big wins (Sunday),” said ICCC head coach Rick Pederson. “We needed a doubleheader sweep. We made quick work in the first game, and in the second game we really had to grind it out for the first time all year.”

Alex Hayden (5-1) went the distance on the mound in the opener, allowing just one hit. Hayden didn’t walk a batter and fanned two.

“Hayden was excellent in Game 1,” Pederson said. “That’s now back-to-back conference shutouts for him.”

Indiana State recruit Andy DeJesus and Justin Smith each contributed three hits for Iowa Central, while Christian Montero added two. Smith also scored three times and drove in three.

Michael Kinning and Montero crossed the dish twice apiece, and Montero had a pair of RBI. Smith and Montero both went deep.

In the finale, Fort Dodge graduate Luke Vandermaten (2-0) earned the win in relief, yielding one hit over three scorless frames. The Iowa Hawkeye signee notched four strikeouts.

“Vandermaten retired nine in a row to end the game,” said Pederson. “He’s just so valuable back there (in the bullpen).”

Tanner Buenting, DeJesus and Damian Rutherford all finished 2-for-4 offensively. Buenting, DeJesus and Connor Phillips each drove in one.

The Tritons outhit the Trojans on the day, 21-5. Defending Region XI champion NIACC (14-11, 5-3) also committed eight errors.

“We talked to our guys beforehand about what our identity is going to be,” Pederson said. “I thought (Sunday) was a big step in the right direction.”

Next outing for Iowa Central is Tuesday when they host Rochester (Minn.). First pitch is set for 2 p.m.