The 18th-ranked (NJCAA Div. II) Iowa Central baseball team salvaged a split against No. 12 Southeastern on Saturday at Ed Barbour Field.
Following an 11-3 setback in the opener of the ICCAC doubleheader, the Tritons (28-14 overall, 13-7 in the league) bounced back with a 5-2 victory in the nightcap to take three out of four games in the weekend series.
"It was good to get that second one, and our kids responded very well," said ICCC head coach Rick Pederson. "(The Blackhawks) just played better than us in the first game, but if you would 've told me before the season started that we'd take three out of four from Southeastern, I would definitely have taken it. It was a good weekend."
Nate Steger went 3-for-4 offensively with a homer, RBI and a run scored in Game 1 for Iowa Central, while Indiana State recruit Andy DeJesus added a pair of hits.
All knotted at 1-1 in the sixth, the Blackhawks erupted for 10 runs over the last four innings. Southeastern racked up 19 hits, including four each from Jesus Carrera, Hector Viera and Tanner Giesel.
In the second contest, Damian Rutherford was 1-for-2 with two runs scored, a stolen base and a walk for the Tritons, who plated two tallies in the third, one in the fifth and two more in the sixth.
SOUTHEASTERN 11, IOWA CENTRAL 3
Southeastern 001 004 042-11 19 1
Iowa Central 100 001 010-3 7 1
WP-Max Biedrzycki (7 IP, 6 H, 2 ER, 3 BB, 8 K); LP-Joe Hawks (3-4; 5 1/3 IP, 8 H, 5 ER, 3 BB, 3 K).
2B-S: Tanner Giesel (3); ICCC: Andy DeJesus, Noah Pickard. HR-ICCC: Nate Steger. LOB-S 14, ICCC 8.
IOWA CENTRAL 5, SOUTHEASTERN 2
Southeastern 010 100 0-2 6 3
Iowa Central 002 012 x-5 7 0
LP-Cody Kerns (5 1/3 IP, 7 H, 1 ER, 5 BB, 7 K); WP - Luke Vandermaten (3-0; 4 IP, 4 H, 1 ER, 1 BB, 2 K).
2B-S: Jay Feliciano, Eden Cranston; ICCC: Steger. SB-S: Jesus Carrera, Giesel; ICCC: Damian Rutherford. LOB-S 10, ICCC 9.
Fort Dodge Senior High graduate Luke Vandermaten (3-0) notched the win in relief, allowing four hits and one earned run over four innings of work. The Iowa Hawkeye signee walked one and fanned two.
"Vandermaten was solid," Pederson said. "It was good to have him back again after he sat out for two weeks. We only used him for one inning on Friday, and we just knew we had to find a way to shorten the game down for him."
With the loss, the Blackhawks (29-14, 14-4) dropped one game behind eighth-ranked Des Moines Area atop the conference standings.
Next action for the Tritons is Tuesday when they host Div. I foe Marshalltown (17-26). First pitch is set for 2 p.m.