Tritons bounce back

WATERLOO – Facing a win-or-go-home scenario, the third-seeded Iowa Central baseball team rallied for an 8-7 victory over No. 7 seed Iowa Lakes in the consolation bracket of the Region XI NJCAA Div. II Tournament Friday afternoon at Riverfront Stadium.

Trailing by four runs in eighth inning, the 17th-ranked Tritons (37-18 overall) erupted for a seven-spot. Cleanup batter Jason Galeano went 3-for-5 with a RBI and run scored for Iowa Central, while Tanner Buenting and Nate Steger each finished 2-for-4. Steger also drove in a pair, and Indiana State signee Andy DeJesus crossed the dish twice.

Iowa Hawkeye recruit Luke Vandermaten (Fort Dodge) posted the victory in relief. Vandermaten (4-0) allowed two hits and no earned runs – with no walks and four strikeouts – over three innings of work.

Luis Sterling collected three hits for the Lakers (19-23), while Sean Alp and Manny DeLeon both managed a pair of hits.

Iowa Central was able to overcome eight errors in the game.

“It might have been the ugliest worst-played game I’ve ever won as a coach or player,” said ICCC head coach Rick Pederson. “The bottom line, though, is we won. Nothing had went our way here and then all of a sudden some good things finally happened. Hopefully, we can carry that momentum over into (today).”

In their tournament opener Thursday night, which featured a 49-minute lightning delay, the Tritons dropped a 9-6 decision to sixth-seeded North Iowa Area. Galeano was a perfect 3-for-3 with his seventh longball of the year, two RBI and a run scored. Buenting added three RBI on a bases-clearing double in the ninth.

Up 2-0 in the fifth, Iowa Central saw the Trojans answer with nine straight runs.

Brett Zuba, Jake Adams and Zach Fricke each recorded two hits for NIACC (23-29).

“It was disappointing that we couldn’t get anything going,” Pederson said. “We had bad approaches at the plate and swung at a lot of pitches out of the strike zone.”

Awaiting the Tritons here this morning at 10 a.m. is fourth-seeded Kirkwood (30-18-1). The Eagles fell to No. 1 seed Des Moines Area on Friday, 7-1.