WATERLOO – Iowa Wesleyan College gave the University of Northern Iowa a run for awhile, but the NCAA Division I Panthers came back for a 10-5 win over the Tigers Wednesday night at Riverfront Stadium.
IWC led 5-3 after a three-run fifth inning, but UNI took over in the final four innings and scored the game’s final seven runs. The Panthers of the Missouri Valley Conference improved to 7-0 all-time against Wesleyan and dropped the Tigers to 25-17 this season.
The Tigers threw a scare into the Panthers (15-18 overall) at the start, starting the game with three straight hits and taking an early 2-0 lead. Frany Cruz (Sr.-Toa Baja, Puerto Rico) and Jay Olson (Fr.-Agency, Iowa) both drove in runs and IWC could’ve had even more but left a pair of runners on base.
UNI came back in the bottom of the first, taking the lead on one swing when Jeff Taliaferro hit a two-out, three-run home run off Wesleyan starter Justin DeVoe (Sr.-Newton, Iowa) to make it 3-2. It would be the most the Panthers would get off of DeVoe, who pitched the first four innings and allowed four hits while striking out five.
The Tigers made a move in the fifth inning, starting with a long home run to left by Edder Morales (Jr.-Barquisimeto, Venezuela), the shortstop’s 10th of the season. The inning continued with Cruz and Olson both doubling in runs to give IWC a 5-3 lead halfway through the scheduled nine innings.
Wesleyan was unable to hold the lead, though, as Northern Iowa scored five times in the fifth to regain control. The Panthers had just two hits in the inning but took advantage of three walks and two hit batsmen to take an 8-5 lead.
The Tiger bats were silent the rest of the way, as the team’s final 12 hitters of the game went down in order. UNI added two more runs in the bottom of the seventh inning for the game’s final margin.
Cruz led the Tigers with two hits and two RBIs, while Nelcicio York (Jr.-St. Maarten, Netherlands Antilles) scored two runs. Asael Garcia (So.-Caracas, Venezuela) took the loss for IWC, allowing three runs in the decisive fifth inning to see his season record drop to 1-1.
Taliaferro led the Panthers with five RBIs for the game. Josh Gibbs picked up the win, throwing just 1/3 of an inning but getting the final out of the fifth inning. IWC dropped to 0-2 this year against NCAA Division I opposition. The Tigers earlier this season lost to the University of Texas-Arlington, and next week will take on Western Illinois University. Iowa Wesleyan also has played its last game for at least awhile against Northern Iowa, as the Panthers are dropping baseball after this season.
The Tigers are back on the field and back into conference play Friday, playing in Peosta, Iowa against Clarke College for a single nine-inning game. IWC will also be home this weekend to host a series against Waldorf College Saturday and Sunday at the Mapleleaf Athletic Complex.
For more information regarding the IWC baseball program or any of the Tiger athletic teams, contact sports information director Adam Glatczak (319-385-6306 phone; 319-385-6384 FAX; email@example.com e-mail) or log on to IWC's athletics web site at www.iwc.edu/athletics.
Photos: At top, Devin Smith attempts to steal third base but is called out in second inning; bottom, Edder Morales (#15) is congratulated by Diego Marquez (#6) after hitting a home run in the fifth inning.
Box score UNI 10 IWC 5