Hawkeyes coach Rick Heller breaks down Iowa’s schedule and chance at another regional appearance. Dargan Southard/Hawk Central
After early fireworks, Iowa still needed some late life.
Tyler Cropley delivered.
The senior catcher put the Hawkeyes ahead for good Saturday with a go-ahead two-run homer as part of a three-run sixth, propelling Iowa to an 8-6 win over Oakland at the Diamond 9 Sunshine State Classic Series in Kissimmee, Florida.
The Hawkeyes (2-0) opened with five first-inning runs, but Oakland tagged starter Cole McDonald and grabbed a 6-5 advantage after four. The right-hander yielded seven hits and five runs over three frames, also mixing in a walk and a strikeout. Of the 14 batters McDonald faced, eight reached safely.
But the Iowa bullpen was nails from there to keep the game within reach. The trio of Jack Dreyer, Nick Nelsen and Kyle Shimp surrendered no earned runs over six innings, combining to allow five hits with five strikeouts.
Then Iowa erupted. Cropley whacked out a 1-0 pitch that scored Kyle Crowl, who walked with nobody out. The blast arrived after Ben Norman opened the frame with a single, advanced to third on back-to-back passed balls and scored on Robert Neustrom’s sacrifice fly.
The Hawkeyes will go for the weekend sweep on Sunday at 10 a.m. against Old Dominion. Right-hander Brady Schanuel will make his Iowa debut, but won’t throw a full workload as he comes back from a preseason rotator cuff issue.
Iowa pitcher Brady Schanuel talks about his rotator cuff issue, working back to full strength. Dargan Southard/Hawk Central
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.