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JUCO baseball: Warriors continue offensive surge at Southwestern

Mar. 22—CRESTON — The Indian Hills baseball team picked up its first three wins in Iowa Community College Athletic Conference (ICCAC) play, following up a wild 13-7 win at home on Tuesday over Kirkwood with a pair of dominant road wins at Southwestern on Thursday. The Warriors won 24-0 in game one, scoring 18 runs in the sixth inning to clinch the contest, before scoring 11 runs in the eighth inning of the second game to clinch the sweep with a 21-4 win over the Spartans.

In the team's first league affair of the year, the Warriors fell behind early with a 4-0 deficit against Kirkwood, but battled back in the early stages of the game to take the lead. A four-run sixth inning, paired with four consecutive scoreless frames from the Eagles, led to the Warriors' seventh win in the team's last eight contests.

Indian Hills, who checked into the national rankings in the 'others receiving votes' category this week, pounded out a season-high 18 hits in the victory as the team produced a double-digit run total for the fourth time in the last eight matchups. Nine different individuals collected a hit on Tuesday, including seven who boasted multiple hits. Sophomores Logan Myers and Raul Torres each tallied three hits for the Warriors.

Seven different Warriors saw action on the mound as the bullpen stepped up down the stretch to secure the win. Tomoki Jitsukawa secured the victory while five pitchers in total produced scoreless outings.

The Eagles took advantage of a blustery day at Pat Daugherty Field, plating four runs in the opening inning on four hits. The Warriors responded with three runs of their own in the second frame, capped by Torres run-scoring single up the middle.

Kirkwood regained a two-run advantage, 5-3 in the top of the third, but the Warrior offense continued to thrive with three runs of their own in the bottom half, including an RBI double from Miguel Salazar. Freshman Zachari Pace, this week's ICCAC Athlete of the Week, delivered a two-run double in the fourth to extend the lead to 8-5 for the Warriors.

Jitsukawa's scoreless appearance paved the way for the Warrior rally as the sophomore kept the Eagles in check. The Warriors poured it on in the sixth as Torres added a two-run single while Miguel Padron added an RBI single to give Indian Hills the 13-7 lead.

Aiden Ennis excelled on the bump with two scoreless frames before Logan Winkelman added a scoreless appearance with three strikeouts. Sophomore All-Region performers from a year ago, Carlos Valenzuela and Nathan Smithburg closed out the game, retiring the final five batters.

Padron added two hits while Endi Jaquez went 2-5 with two runs and three RBI in the win. Salazar added two hits, two RBI and three runs scored while Pace and Dylan Sayles each collected two hits.

Jitsukawa has now allowed just two earned runs in his last six appearances as the Warriors are 6-1 in ballgames that the hurler has appeared in this year.

Offensively, Torres has been a force at the plate as the sophomore extended his season-high hitting streak to six games on Tuesday. The sophomore infielder has recorded a hit in 10 of the last 11 contests and has reached base safely in 18 consecutive contests. Torres has reached base safely in all but one of the team's 20 games this year.

Indian Hills jumped out to an early lead against Southwestern on Thursday, scoring four runs in the first inning of the opening game. Jaquez got the Warriors rolling with a triple to right on the second pitch of the game, the first of seven extra-base hits for IHCC in the opener, before scoring on a wild pitch to Torres for the first of the 45 runs scored by the Warriors in the doubleheader.

Torres added three more hits in game one against Southwestern, driving in three runs while scoring three times. Ciro Benavides added two hits, three RBIs and two runs scored in game one for the Warriors. Pace went 2-3 with three runs scored and three runs driven in.

Torres and Benavides each doubled and drove in five runs apiece in game two on Thursday at Southwestern as the Warriors finished with 45 total hits in the two games. Padron finished a home run shy of hitting for the cycle in the nightcap for IHCC, going 3-4 with a double, a triple, an RBI and three runs scored. Myers added three hits, including a triple, and scored four times while driving in three runs.

Indian Hills (18-4, 3-0 ICCAC) is scheduled to conclude their three-game regional series at Southwestern on Saturday with a nine-inning contest. First pitch is set for 1 p.m.