Tritons pick up split vs. Southeastern

One productive inning helped the Iowa Central baseball team come away with a split against Southeastern here Saturday at chilly Ed Barbour Field.

Following a 4-1 victory in the opener, the Tritons (18-3 overall, 8-2 in the ICCAC) saw their nine-game winning streak snapped in the nightcap with a 9-1 setback.

“I thought we played real well in the first game,” said ICCC head coach Rick Pederson. “We had some mental lapses in Game 2 that hurt, but (the Blackhawks) were just way better than us.”

Erich Gonzalez went 1-for-2 offensively with two RBI, a run scored and a stolen base for the Tritons in the first contest. Gonzalez plated both Junior Aracena and Jose Paulino with a go-ahead single in the bottom of the fifth to give Iowa Central a lead they never relinquished. Junior Gomez (sacrifice fly) and Fernando Villegas (RBI double) drove in the other Iowa Central runs later in the frame.

Franyelyn Diaz and Paulino each added singles for the Tritons, who were able to overcome three errors.

Fort Dodge graduate JC Hatcher (3-1) posted the win on the mound, scattering four hits and no earned runs over 6 1/3 innings of work. Hatcher walked two and fanned six. Colby Carmichael recorded the last two outs out of the bullpen for his second save of the year.

“Hatcher threw the ball well,” Pederson said. “Other than the (fifth) inning, we didn’t do much offensively. It was a cold and windy day, and we faced some good pitching in both games.”

Marco Melgoza managed a pair of hits for the Blackhawks (21-11, 8-2), while Gabriel Montero scored Southeastern’s lone run on a Bryce Luken squeeze bunt in the top of the fifth.

In Game 2, Gonzalez sparked Iowa Central with a single and a double from his No. 3 spot in the lineup. Matt Cox also contributed a two-bagger for the Tritons, while Brent Jones finished 1-for-4 with a run scored. After reaching on a one-out error by the Blackhawk second baseman in the bottom of the first, Jones eventually crossed the dish.

Oswaldo Calderon and Oliver Baez delivered three hits apiece for Southeastern, while Luis Vargas and Matt Simmerman each chipped in two hits. Calderon, Vargas and Simmerman all scored twice, and Simmerman and Ben Schanding both knocked in a pair. Schanding’s two-out, two-run double in the top of the eighth chased Iowa Central reliever Zach Grenell.

Starter George Faue (1-1) was the losing pitcher for the Tritons. The sophomore southpaw yielded 10 hits and six runs over four innings – with four walks and five strikeouts. Andrew Stover (Fort Dodge) also struck out the only Blackhawk he faced in relief of Grenell.

“Faue just didn’t have his best stuff (Saturday),” said Pederson. “We missed on a few scoring opportunities (ICCC had at least one hit in every inning of the second game except the fourth), but we’re fine. It would be big for both teams if one of us can get a sweep (today).”

Southeastern held a 20-12 advantage in the hits column on the day.

The Tritons and Blackhawks, who are currently in a three-way tie with Kirkwood atop the league standings, will battle again this afternoon. First pitch for the doubleheader is set for 1 p.m.