The Iowa baseball team won all three games it played in Florida this weekend during action at the Snowbird Classic in Port Charlotte.
It was the first time Iowa had won all three games of a three-game tournament since winning three times at the Austin Peay Tournament in 2006.
Here is a recap of the three games Iowa won this weekend over Maine, Georgetown and West Virginia.
"It was a big weekend for our team," said Iowa coach Jack Dahm. "We grew up in a lot of phases and it was a great team effort all weekend long. We had a lot of guys help us and step up when they got their opportunities."
Iowa 9, Maine 2
Iowa sophomore ace Sasha Kuebel finally got something to show for her strong outing on the mound.
Kuebel pitched seven strong innings and the University of Iowa’s offense erupted for nine runs in a 9-2 win over Maine in the Snowbird Classic opener this weekend.
Kuebel allowed eight hits and two runs over seven innings en route to his first win of the season. The left-hander had four strikeouts in the win, while Josh Martsching closed out the victory after allowing one hit and three strikeouts over the final two innings.
"Sasha didn't have his best stuff, but he made some big pitches when he needed to in some key situations," said Dahm. "He really settled in. They had a couple of key situations where we turned two big double plays and Sasha made the big pitches when he needed to."
Iowa needed just two big innings to claim the win. The Hawkeyes scored three runs in the fourth and six runs in the sixth.
Keith Brand, Blake Hickman and Dan Sheppard all singled in the fourth to load the bases. Brand crossed the plate following a walk and then Kris Goodman’s RBI infield single scored the second run. A third run was plated following an error by Maine.
"We came up with some big hits," said Dahm. "The good thing is once we got the lead we kept the pressure on them. That's important for our guys to learn. We executed from an offensive stand point and that led to us scoring nine runs."
Iowa got four hits in the six-run sixth inning. Hickman led off the frame with a double and then Taylor Zeutenhorst and Goodman followed with a walk and single to load the bases.
Hickman made it 4-0 when Jake Mangler was hit by a pitch. Jake Yacinich then came through with a two-run single that chased Maine starter Tommy Lawrence. After loading the bases a second time, Iowa plated three more runs via fielder’s choice, a Maine throwing error and an RBI single by Jimmy Frankos – hit first career hit.
The Hawkeyes collected 11 hits in the game and four players – Goodman, Mangler, Brand and Hickman – all had two-hit games. Goodman was 2-for-5 with an RBI and a run scored, Mangler was 2-for-4 with an RBI and Brand was 2-for-2 with two runs and three hit by pitches. Hickman finished 2-for-4 with two runs.
"Brand had an outstanding day, two hits and three hit by pitches," said Dahm. "We were down a couple of guys -- Eric Toole was sick -- and we had a little different lineup in there today. The guys battled and found a way to get it done."
Iowa 7, Georgetown 2
Another strong pitching performance led the Hawkeyes to a second straight win in the Snowbird Classic on Saturday.
Matt Dermody allowed two runs and struck out six batters over eight innings to lead the University of Iowa past Georgetown.
“Matt was dominant today,” said Dahm. “He threw the ball very well. He threw hard, located, and threw his secondary stuff for strikes. He worked through a couple of situations and we made a couple big defensive plays behind him. Matt was very impressive today.”
The Hoyas were held scoreless through seven innings by Dermody. The Norwalk native worked out of jams in the fourth and fifth innings when Georgetown placed a runner on third in both frames. He improved to 3-0 on the season, becoming the first Big Ten pitcher to reach the three-win plateau.
The Hawkeyes gave Dermody plenty of run support as well. Iowa scored seven runs on nine hits with Goodman, Mangler and Yacinich accounting for seven of those hits and knocking in four of the seven runs.
Goodman went 3-for-4 with an RBI, Mangler went 2-for-5 with an RBI and Yacinich added two hits and two RBIs. Goodman posted his fourth three-hit performance of the year, Mangler extended his hit streak to five games and Yacinich had his sixth multi-hit game of the season.
Zeutenhorst plated the first two Iowa runs in the fourth, hitting a single that plated sophomore Taylor Kaufman and Brand.
Iowa would then score runs in its next three at-bats as Goodman, Mangler and Yacinich collected three straight RBI singles. All four runs in the innings came with two outs.
“We didn’t hit any balls really hard in the fourth, but we put the ball in play and had a very good approach,” Dahm said.
Yacinich and Brand drove in two more runs in the seventh to push the lead to 7-0. It was Yacinich’s team-best 10th RBI of the season.
Georgetown (7-6) tallied its only two runs in the top half of the eighth inning, scoring via a Danny Poplawski RBI single and a Christian Vendetti sacrifice fly.
Sophomore Nick Hibbing replaced Dermody in the ninth inning. Hibbing tossed a perfect frame, striking out one batter.
“The mentally tough teams come out and play good on Sunday and find a way to win,” said Dahm. “West Virginia is a talented team that has been playing well. It’s going to be a great challenge for us and I’m looking forward to seeing how we respond.”
Iowa 6, West Virginia 4 (12 innings)
The Hawkeyes finished the Snowbird Classic, which was held in Florida, with a 6-4 win in extra innings on Sunday as Hickman hit a two-run single in the top of the 12th to claim the win.
Four Hawkeyes – Hickman, Zeutenhorst, Kaufman and Mangler – all posted multi-hit efforts in the win. Hickman went 2-for-5 with two runs and two RBIs, Zeutenhorst was 4-for-4 with a double, triple, two runs and an RBI and Kaufman went 3-for-5 with a run scored. Mangler also had two hits with an RBI and extended his hit streak to six games.
"Blake (Hickman) and Taylor (Zeutenhorst) have the capability to be some of our better hitters," said Dahm. "They're talented and it was good to see them perform. It makes it tough when you get production from the bottom of the order, but I look forward to when we can get the entire order going."
Iowa tied the score, 3-3, in the seventh inning after Yacinich bunted and beat the throw to first base to score Zeutenhorst. It was Yacinich's 11th RBI of the season, which is tops on the team.
The Hawkeyes took their first lead an inning later. With one out, Zeutenhorst delivered his second extra-base hit of the game, doubling to left-center to plate Hickman.
West Virginia evened the score, 4-4, with one out in the bottom of the ninth as Alan Filauro crossed the plate after a Brady Wilson sacrifice fly.
The score remained tied until the Hickman's single in the top of the 12th that scored senior Dan Sheppard and Kaufman. It was Hickman's first two RBIs of the season.
Nick Hibbing closed the door in the 12th for Iowa as he picked up his second save of the season. Iowa turned a double play for the final two outs.
Andrew Hanse was given the win and is now 2-0 on the season. Hanse allowed one run in three innings. Ricky Sandquist, a Fort Dodge native, opened the game on the mound for Iowa (7-6) and he went five innings with three runs allowed and five strikeouts in his first start of the year.
"Our pitchers made some big pitches for us," said Dahm. "Andrew worked through a bases loaded jam in a tie game and Nick got the double play for us to end the game. I was really proud of our pitching."
The Hawkeyes return to action next weekend against Nebraska-Omaha. Iowa will play at home for the first time this season, hosting UNO in a three-game series at Duane Banks Field.
The Hawkeyes and Mavericks will play at 4:05 p.m. on Friday, before playing at 1:05 p.m. on Saturday and Sunday.