No. 17 Tritons sweep again
It was mission accomplished for the Iowa Central baseball team here Sunday afternoon.
Applying the finishing touches to a weekend sweep of Southwestern, the 17th-ranked (NJCAA Div. II) Tritons (22-9 overall, 9-3 in the ICCAC) prevailed by scores of 8-1 and 3-1 at Ed Barbour Field.
With the two victories, Iowa Central improved to 11-3 at home this season. The Tritons outscored the Spartans in the four-game series by a combined margin of 29-5.
“I thought our pitching was excellent again (Sunday),” ICCC head coach Rick Pederson said. “Our offensive approach wasn’t great, but we were still able to put enough runs up on the board. We won all four games over the weekend, which is all you can ask for. It was very important for us to come out and take care of business on our home field.”
Indiana State recruit Andy DeJesus, a No. 2 batter in the order, sparked Iowa Central’s offensive attack in the opener with three hits, three RBI and a run scored. After breaking through with a four-spot in the third inning, the Tritons sealed the deal with four more insurance tallies in the eighth – capped by a three-run triple to the right field corner by DeJesus.
Jason Galeano also delivered a pair of hits and a RBI for Iowa Central, while Tanner Buenting and Justin Smith each crossed the dish twice. Six different Tritons managed at least one hit in the contest.
“DeJesus really hit the ball well in Game 1,” Pederson said. “Throughout our lineup, we had a number of different guys step up and make contributions.”
Starting pitcher Joe Hawks (2-3) posted the win, allowing just two hits and one earned run over six innings of work. Hawks walked four and fanned six. Bailey Scott came out of the bullpen to notch the last nine outs for his second save of the year.
“I thought Bailey was great in that first game,” said Pederson. “We’re going to need more outings like that from him as the season goes on.”
In the nightcap, which featured an intermittent light mist, Iowa Central plated single tallies in the first, third and fourth frames. Noah Pickard was 2-for-3 with a run scored, including a triple.
Michael Kinning added two RBI, while Christian Montero knocked in one. Both Buenting and DeJesus scored once.
Fort Dodge graduate Tyler Vaughn (3-1) picked up the victory in relief of former high school teammate Will Gormally. Vaughn held the Spartans (3-18, 1-11) to only one hit and no runs – with one walk and two strikeouts – in 4 2/3 innings.
Vaughn also assisted on a highlight-reel 1-5-3 putout in the fourth, when a line shot off the bat of Ian Dyer deflected off his foot over to third baseman Nate Steger.
“Tyler was excellent,” Pederson said. “He continues to get better each time out (Vaughn entered Sunday with a 3.66 ERA and a .234 opponents’ batting average against). Our guys have to remember that stopping the other team from scoring is as good as scoring ourselves.”
Alessio Pena came home with the lone run for the Spartans in the third on a successful double steal with Gage Gavin.
Iowa Central outhit Southwestern on the afternoon, 16-8. Both teams turned one twin killing.
Winners of eight straight games, Iowa Central hosts Div. I foe Indian Hills (23-10) on Tuesday. First pitch is set for 2 p.m.