Tigers take three of four from 3rd-ranked Reivers

COUNCIL BLUFFS – The change of venue this weekend for the Marshalltown Community College baseball didn’t affect the Tiger bats.

They traveled just fine.

The Tigers cranked out 19 hits and scored 19 runs in two games against NJCAA Division 1 No. 3 Iowa Western on Sunday and swept the Reivers to take three out of four on the weekend.

MCC (16-15, 8-8) lost a big lead in the first game but Ty Russell’s home run in the seventh inning propelled the Tigers to a 7-6 win, and then a strong performance by the top of the order in the nightcap sent MCC to a 12-11 victory.

The games both Saturday and Sunday were originally scheduled to be played in Marshalltown but moved to Council Bluffs due to poor field conditions.

It didn’t affect the Tigers. And MCC did it with its bats.

The Tigers plated six runs in their first two at-bats in the opening game, including five runs in the first inning. Bennett Mann’s bases-loaded triple in the first made it 5-0 and then Russell’s RBI single in the second made it 6-0.

That is usually enough support for Corey Ceponis, but the Iowa Western bats also came to play. The Reivers trimmed the MCC lead to 5-1 after plating a run in the fourth and then used four straight doubles to tie it at 6 in the fifth.

Russell eventually sent the game-winner over the outfield fence as he went 2-for-2 with two RBIs and two walks and run scored in the game to lead the Tigers. Daryl Blaskovich and Justen Folger also each went 2-for-4 with a run scored.

Ceponis allowed 10 hits and six earned runs in five innings. John Bloom and Brett Baker combined for two scoreless innings in relief. Bloom earned the win, while Baker recorded the save after the Tigers retired the Reivers in the seventh with a 1-6-3 double play.

David Parrett led Iowa Western with three hits, two runs and an RBI, and Drake Robison took the loss on the mound after allowing two hits and the homer to Russell in the seventh inning.

MCC’s 1-4 hitters accounted for all 11 hits in the second game of the twinbill.

The Tigers plated two runs in the first, four in the third, two in the fourth and four in the sixth to win. They were out-hit 24-19 on the day but still earned the sweep.

MCC jumped out in front with a two-run double by Russell in the first inning and then an RBI hit by Russell and an Iowa Western error led to a four-run inning and a 6-1 lead in the third.

The two runs in the fourth came after RBI hits by Blaskovich and Folger and then an RBI double by Folger in the sixth highlighted a four-run sixth. Iowa Western also committed an error and walked in two runs in the sixth.

William Salas, Blaskovich, Russell and Folger went a combined 11-for-16 at the plate and scored all 11 runs and had six RBIs.

Salas was 2-for-3 with three runs, two walks and two doubles, while Blaskovich had four hits, two doubles, four runs and an RBI. Russell added two hits, two runs and three RBIs, while Folger chipped in three hits, two runs and two RBIs.

Mann and Eric Kent each had two RBIs on the day for the Tigers.

Jake Whaley started but did not factor into the decision after allowing 10 hits and eight earned runs in four innings. He fanned six and walked four.

Zach Throckmorten earned the win after surrendering one run on one hit in relief. Baker earned his second save of the day after recording the final two outs with no blemishes. Taylor Moon also pitched in relief for MCC.

Grant Key had three hits, two runs, two triples and five RBIs to lead the Reivers. Sean Johnson took the loss in relief. He allowed three hits, six earned runs and three walks in 2 2/3 innings. Iowa Western committed four errors on the day.

It was a big weekend for the Tigers as they evened up their Iowa Community College Athletic Conference record at 8-8 and pulled two games away from second-place Indian Hills. Iowa Western is now 34-10 overall and 12-4 in league play.

The Tigers hope to continue their winning ways when they travel to Southwestern on Tuesday. MCC and SWCC will play a doubleheader starting at 3 p.m. in Creston.