Triton baseball sweeps Rochester

Momentum continued to be gained by the Iowa Central baseball team here Tuesday afternoon.

Winning for the fifth time in their past six games, the 17th-ranked (NJCAA Div. II) Tritons (18-9 overall) swept a non-conference doubleheader from Rochester (Minn.) by scores of 10-4 and 9-0 at Ed Barbour Field.

“We got two more wins, so it was a good day at the ballpark,” ICCC head coach Rick Pederson said. “I thought we swung the bats prettywell up and down the lineup. (Tuesday) was another step in the right direction.”

Freshman leadoff batter Tanner Buenting reached base in all four of his plate appearances in the opener for Iowa Central, which erupted for five scores in the first two innings.

Buenting, a second baseman, finished a perfect 3-for-3 offensively with five RBI and three runs scored. He belted a three-run longball in the second, while later producing a two-run single in the fifth. Buenting entered the day with a team-high .405 batting average.

“Buenting did a nice job of getting on base, but the guys behind him also came through with some timely hits,” said Pederson.

Damian Rutherford and Nate Steger each contributed a pair of RBI for the Tritons out of the No. 3 and 5 spots in the order, respectively. Kirk McLeod added two runs scored.

Austin Vaske (1-0) notched his first collegiate victory on the mound. The former Bishop Garrigan all-stater allowed five hits and one earned run over four innings. Vaske, who walked two and fanned two, also picked off a pair of runners at first base.

“Vaske’s coming off an arm injury, and he’s still a work in progress,” Pederson said. “He has to locate better at times, but I thought he threw some good pitches (yesterday).”

Sean Geelan was 2-for-4 with a run scored for the Yellowjackets (5-11), who have now dropped four straight games.

In the nightcap, Rutherford went 2-for-3 with a stolen base and five RBI, including two homers – his team-leading third and fourth of the year. Rutherford crushed a three-run shot in the first, followed by a solo blast to deep left field in the fourth. He also drew a bases loaded walk in the second. Rutherford paces the Tritons with 26 RBI on the season.

Michael Kinning delivered two hits of his own for Iowa Central, while Buenting crossed the plate twice.

After a three-spot in the first, the Tritons tacked on four insurance scores in the second and two more in the fourth.

Making his first career start, Weston Glienke (1-0) limited Rochester to just one hit – with two walks and one strikeout – over four innings. Tyler Vaughn (Fort Dodge), Will Gormally (Fort Dodge) and Bailey Scott all worked scoreless innings in relief. Vaughn actually struck out the side in the fifth.

“I was happy to see Glienke get a win his first time out there,” said Pederson. “Vaughn’s getting better each time out, too, and Gormally and Scott were both solid as well. We still need to be more consistent in that strikezone, though.”

Iowa Central outhit the Yellowjackets on the afternoon, 17-10. Defensively, the Tritons also turned a 6-3 double play in the second contest from Andy DeJesus to Jason Galeano.

With the sweep, Iowa Central improved to 7-3 at home this year.

Next action for the Tritons is Thursday at Div. I foe Indian Hills (20-9). First pitch is set for 2 p.m. in Centerville.