PORT CHARLOTTE, Fla. -- A three-hit start by sophomore Tyler Peyton sent the University of Iowa baseball team to a 7-1 victory over Nebraska Omaha on Sunday morning, lifting the Hawkeyes to a perfect 4-0 weekend at the Snowbird Baseball Classic.
The victory moves Iowa's record to 6-1 this season, the program's best start since 1985 when the Hawkeyes started 8-1 en route to a 40-win season.
"The guys are taking a professional approach and going out and playing hard every day," said UI head coach Rick Heller. "That's what happens when you show up and play everyday, you give yourself a chance to win."
Peyton pitched around a first-inning walk and a second inning one-out single before Omaha used a pair of hits to take a 1-0 lead in the 3rd. Clayton Taylor doubled with one out, moved to third on a Cole Gruber single and stole home to give the Mavericks a 1-0 advantage.
The Hawkeye offense answered, scoring the tying run in the top of the fourth inning. Junior Jake Mangler and senior Taylor Zeutenhorst used consecutive singles to start the inning before junior Kris Goodman's one-out RBI single up the middle made the score 1-1.
Iowa grabbed the lead in the top of the fifth inning when the Mavericks made the move to Tyler Hamer from the bullpen. With two away, junior Eric Toole walked and stole second before Mangler followed with a second walk, and the pair moved to second and third on a wild pitch. Zeutenhorst made the score 3-1 with a two-run double to left centerfield for his eighth and ninth RBIs this season.
That's all Peyton would need, as he retired Nebraska Omaha in order in the fifth, sixth, and seventh innings, before pitching around a two-out walk in the eighth. Peyton earned his first career victory after scattering three hits over eight innings and finishing with six strikeouts.
"Tyler got better as the game went on," said Heller. "He did a great job of getting them to swing, and he induced some contact early in the count. He kept his pitch count down, and it got him through the eighth inning."
Iowa's bats weren't done as the team pushed two runs across the plate in the eighth and ninth innings. After two walks started the eighth and a sacrifice bunt moved both runners up a base, junior Nick Day hit a two-run single up the middle to make the score 5-1.
In the ninth, Mangler, Zeutenhorst and sophomore Blake Hickman walked the bases loaded with one out before Goodman roped a two-run double to left field to stretch Iowa's advantage to 7-1.
"Adding on those insurance runs in the late innings was big," said Heller. "We've been doing a nice job of that. When we've been getting into people's bullpens and have been taking advantage. We're getting quality swings and at-bats and scoring a lot of runs late in the game."
Four Hawkeyes accounted for nine of the team's 10 hits. Day posted his second-straight three-hit game, finishing 3-for-5 with two RBIs, while Mangler (2-for-3, 3 runs), Zeutenhorst (2-for-4, 2 RBIs, 1 run) and Goodman (2-for-4, 3 RBIs, 1 run) all had two hits.
It was Mangler's fourth multi-hit game this season and pushed his hitting streak to seven games, while Hickman and Zeutenhorst's reached base streak also moved to seven contests. The game was Zeutenhorst's fourth with at least two RBIs.
Iowa will return to Florida next weekend to take part in the Stetson Invitational. The Hawkeyes open play Friday with a 6 p.m. (CT) contest against the host Hatters.
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