Iowa opens series against UNLV with a win

Hawkeyes win chilly opener against Rebels

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IOWA CITY — It’s supposed to get to the mid-70s on Saturday in Las Vegas.

Not a bad time of the year to take a trip there and it’s supposed to be sunny all weekend too, in case you were wondering. Meanwhile, the UNLV baseball team is spending part of its spring break in Iowa City for a non-conference series.

It got down to 45 degrees during Iowa’s 3-0 opening win of the three-game series against the Rebels. The fact Hawkeye head coach Rick Heller and UNLV head coach Stan Stolte are old friends might be just about the only thing keeping the Rebels from running back to Nevada.

Though, to be fair, Stolte did tell Heller that when Iowa comes down to Las Vegas next year to be prepared for anything from low 40s to 75-degree weather, so the Hawkeyes might get paid back.

“He said the first three or four weeks out there are pretty cold in the desert once the sun goes down,” Heller said. “Today wasn’t unusual for them.”

There wasn’t a whole lot in the way of offense from the Hawkeyes or Rebels for the most of the game and perhaps it was the chill that caused it.

Luckily for Iowa, Nick Gallagher didn’t care and also didn’t need a whole lot of run support. The big right-hander was absolutely dealing throughout the evening.

At one point during the game he retired 15 batters in a row and finished the day allowing just two hits. Gallagher went seven innings total, walking no one and pushing his season ERA down to 2.54.

After suffering arm soreness earlier this year, Gallagher isn’t on a pitch count anymore. It was the second quality start in a row for Gallagher, who is looking like one of the best pitchers in the conference and moves to 3-1 on the year.

Iowa absolutely needs his calming presence on the mound during its hotly contested Friday night series-opening games.

“It was good to get in a little deeper into the game,” Gallagher said. “I was just attacking a lot with my fastball and it really wasn’t a good day to hit.”

It really wasn’t, though the Hawkeyes were able to steal a run in the third inning to take a lead they never relinquished.

Mitchell Boe smacked a ball to deep center as two UNLV outfielders ran toward one another before inexplicably stopping. The ball bounced between both and back toward the wall.

By the time they could get it back to the infield, Boe was on second. Chris Whelan then grounded out to second, but scored Boe.

Iowa took a 1-0 lead, which they would add to in the 8th as catcher Tyler Cropley’s second double of the day brought home Jake Adams and Ben Norman.

He went 2-of-4 on the day and has been hitting well as of late. The Hawkeyes move to 15-9 on the year and will have a chance to tack on two more during a doubleheader on Saturday.

l Comments: jordan.hansen@thegazette.com

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