By Matt Reynolds
Iowa Breaks Out, Bearkats’ Bats Stay Hot on Saturday in Round Rock
Game 1: Iowa 12, LSU 4
Iowa bats come alive as Hawkeyes hand LSU first loss
After getting shut out on Friday, the Hawkeyes came out swinging early and never looked back, taking down the #1 LSU Tigers 12-4 and handing them their first loss of 2023.
Iowa first baseman Brennen Dorighi set a career-high with five RBIs, coming on two doubles and a three-run home run in the eighth inning that almost made it onto the concourse in right field.
“I think after yesterday, I might’ve overcomplicated the offensive side a little bit, and today our goal was to stay simple and stay through the middle of the field,” said Dorighi.
On the mound for Iowa was RHP Brody Brecht, who went 3.1 innings, allowing two runs on only one hit, striking out six while walking eight batters.
Brecht allowed the first three Tigers to reach in the first but was able to get out of the inning unscathed by striking out the next three.
Left-hander Jared Simpson was great in relief for the Hawkeyes following Brecht’s shortened start and threw 4.2 innings, striking out eight and limiting LSU to just two runs.
LSU lefty Riley Cooper was able to retire the Hawkeyes’ first two hitters, but designated hitter Keaton Anthony’s opposite-field home run started the barrage that was a 12-run outburst on 16 hits after only managing three hits against Sam Houston State on Friday.
“It was huge. He’s the staple in our offense,” said Dorighi. “When Keaton [Anthony] is able to get his good swing off, it kind of lets everyone else relax and it’s contagious for sure.”
As for LSU, outfielder Dylan Crews was the lone bright spot after reaching base four times and picking two RBI’s on two singles. LSU stranded 14 runners on base, and batted 2 for 15 with runners in scoring position.
“I’m really thankful to have Coach Jay to teach me how to slow the game down,” said Crews. “At the end of the day, we’re facing the ball, not the pitcher.”
Game 2: Sam Houston State 8, Kansas State 3
Bearkats put on hitting clinic, stop Wildcats rally to move to 2-0
Sam Houston State added 16 more hits to their torrid start to the weekend, taking down Kansas State 8-3 to advance to 2-0 in Round Rock.
Hitting has been the story so far for the Bearkats, as all nine hitters have shown they can have good at-bats and make hard contact to make the opposing pitcher’s job a nightmare.
Second baseman Easton Loyd led the way for the Bearkats both offensively and defensively on Saturday, making a sensational diving play in the third to stop a Wildcat rally. At the plate, Loyd connected for his first home run of the season and finished with three hits on the night.
“Pretty much every pitch I’m checking in on the dugout, seeing where the coaches are putting me and just going out and making the play,” said Loyd.
Tonight was the second night in a row that a Bearkats starting pitcher went seven complete innings, as LHP Steven Beard excelled tonight, racking up six strikeouts, allowing four hits and just one run.
“Coach alluded to it earlier, but it’s about having short memories from the hitters,” said Beard. “Just because you throw a breaking ball and get a whiff doesn’t mean you’re going to get another one. The ability to make adjustments not only at-bat to at-bat but pitch to pitch is what allows us to have success.”
For Kansas State, shortstop Nick Goodwin had a solid day at the plate, going 2-for-3 with a single and notching his second home run of the season in the seventh to put the Wildcats on the board.
In the eighth inning, back-to-back doubles from Brendan Jones and Brady Day cut the Bearkats lead to 4-3, setting the table for catcher Roberto Pena to complete the comeback. Pena smoked a line drive to left field, appearing to be headed to the gap but was stopped by a game-saving diving catch by Bearkats left fielder Carlos Contreras to double up the Wildcats and end their rally.
“Carlos works his tail off on defense,” said Sam Houston State head coach Jay Sirianni. “For us as coaches it’s about landing the airplane and making sure he gets down safely.”
Iowa (1-1) vs. Kansas State (0-2) (12:00 p.m. first pitch)
#1 LSU (1-1) vs. Sam Houston State (2-0) (4:00 p.m. first pitch)