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JUCO baseball: IHCC shuts out Marshalltown, drops two of three at Iowa Central

Apr. 22—CENTERVILLE — It wasn't exactly the start Adam Golby was looking for on Friday.

His first three pitchers missed the strike zone. The sixth pitch was lined into right for a lead-off double by Carter Schellsmidt.

In fact, Golby would miss the strike zone on 12 of his first 23 pitches thrown in Friday's start for the Indian Hills baseball team against Marshalltown. Fortunately for the sophomore pitcher, three of the 11 strikes were hit to Warrior teammates allowing Golby to strand a pair of runners without giving up a run to the Tigers.

It would turn out to be Marshalltown's best chance to potentially hand IHCC a third straight home loss. Indian Hills took full advantage of their opportunities at the plate, turning a lead-off walk into a run scored without a hit by Endi Jaquez thanks to a stolen base, a passed ball and a well-placed squeeze bunt in the opening inning.

The hitting would come one inning later as Indian Hills put five runs on the board on five hits in the second. The Warriors never looked back, rolling to an 11-0 Iowa Community College Athletic Conference win over Marshalltown on Friday in a successful return home after dropping consecutive games the previous weekend to Northeast.

"We played clean baseball and got some good pitching. When you do those things, it can make the game clean and quick," Indian Hills head baseball coach Matthew Torrez said. "It was fun to watch. It was nice to get a few days off after last weekend, especially when you're right in the middle of the season nearing your 40th game. It was nice to get our legs back underneath to hopefully get us going as we finish up the season."

Indian Hills opened a three-game weekend series at seventh-ranked (NJCAA DII) Iowa Central on Saturday with a 9-4 win over the Tritons. Jaquez snapped a 2-2 tied with a two-run single in the fourth before scoring on an RBI double by Raul Torres and hitting a lead-off home run in the sixth inning to give IHCC a late three-run lead.

That early momentum, however, could not carry over to the final two games of the series. Iowa Central (36-9, 14-9 ICCAC) responded after giving up an opening run in the first inning of Saturday's second game, scoring five times in the bottom of the first before adding four more runs in the second putting away a 15-4 win with five runs in the bottom of the seventh.

Torres went 3-3 in game two against Iowa Central, scoring two of IHCC's four runs. J.J. Dutton added two hits and two RBI in the contest.

Sunday's series finale nearly resulted in the largest comeback win of the season for the Warriors. Indian Hills scored eight runs in the final three innings against the Tritons, erasing a 10-2 deficit, before Cooper Nicholson clinched a five-hit day for Iowa Central hitting for the cycle with a walk-off home run in the bottom of the 10th clinching an 11-10 win over the Warriors.

"I just try to go to the yard every day and worry about the next team that's in front of us," Torrez said. "Everyone gets excited when you face teams like Iowa Western or Iowa Central. I just really try to downplay those opponents to try and keep our emotions even-keeled."

Back on the diamond for the first time since bouncing back from the home series loss to Northeast with a 13-2 road win at NIACC last Monday, Indian Hills (30-12, 15-8 ICCAC) was able to quickly shake off the early scoring threat by Marshalltown on Friday jumping out to a 6-0 lead after just two innings. Besides two early walks and a hit batter, the Tigers opened the door to an early Warrior rally as a ground ball hit out toward short hit by Adreil Torres got through the infield, allowing Logan Myers to score after leading off the inning with a double giving IHCC a two-run lead.

That error would prove to be even more costly as the inning continued. Indian Hills took advantage of the extra out, scoring four runs on two-out hits by Torres, J.J. Dutton, Fano Cruz and Zachari Pace to break the game open.

"It seems like we do that, getting hits in bunches," Torrez said. "It's kind of our style of baseball. We're not going to hit a ton of balls out of the yard, but we collect a lot of hits and give ourselves a chance to score a lot of runs."

Cruz, who drove in the first run with a perfectly placed bunt, would swing away to drive in his second run of the game. The freshman infielder opened the fourth inning driving a 2-0 pitch over the fence in left for his third home run of the season, giving Indian Hills a commanding 7-0 lead.

"I'm just tying to keep it simple up at the plate. That's what has been working, so I'm going to stick with it," Cruz said. "When we get those guys on base, we have to do we can to bring those guys in. I wasn't trying to hit one of the park, but the wind was blowing out. I'm just trying to hit the back side each time I swing."

After getting out of an early jam in his first inning on the mound, Golby would dominate the Tigers pitching six scoreless innings, allowing just three hits. Zoned in on the strike zone after a somewhat erratic opening inning, Golby struck out the side in the second inning and finished with seven strikeouts in the contest in a much-needed quality start for the Warriors.

"I kind of struggled in the first. I felt like I needed to be a little better if I wanted to keep going," Golby said. "I just needed to relax and have a good time out there. I just focused on throwing strikes and forced them to hit it if they could.

"With four games in three days. To be able to just have to throw one guy for all but one inning was huge for us," Torrez added. "That's a big key for us to get through the weekend."

Zach Dawson polished off the Tigers (10-29, 2-19 ICCAC) with a scoreless seventh, striking out the side after hitting Jordan Hartley to open the inning. By that point, Indian Hills had put the game well out of reach with hits by Myers and Ciro Benavides that followed the home run by Cruz in the fourth before three more runs in the sixth including an RBI hit from Dutton put the Warriors on the verge of a seven-inning shutout.

Jaquez finished up the weekend series at Iowa Central with a three-hit game on Sunday, scoring two of IHCC's 10 runs. Dylan Sayles scored three runs in the extra-inning thriller, going 2-5 including a solo home run in the ninth that tie the game at 10-10.

Indian Hills will be back on the road on Wednesday for a regional doubleheader at Ellsworth. Action at Cadet Field in Iowa Falls gets underway at 1 p.m.

— Scott Jackson can be reached at sjackson@ottumwacourier.com. Follow him on Twitter@CourierScott.