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March 21st, 2012

Black Knights knock off Iowa for tenth win

Chris Rowley
Chris Rowley pitched seven strong innings, and Army overcame an early 1-0 deficit to defeat Iowa, 5-1, on a gorgeous Friday morning at historic Henley Field. The Black Knights pushed across four runs during a decisive fifth-inning rally.

Army (10-4) has won five straight games and improves to 5-0 on its spring break trip. The Black Knights are off to their best 14-game start since the 1986 team began the year 11-3.

Rowley (4-0) allowed one run on four hits en route to his fourth straight victory. The junior righty faced just two over the minimum over his final six frames, retiring the side in order in the second, third and sixth innings.

J.T. Watkins went 2-for-4 to pace Army’s eight-hit attack. Cody Murtle went 1-for-4 with a double and a run scored.

Iowa (6-10) got on the board in the top of the first inning as the Hawkeyes scored one run on two hits. Mike McQuillan led off the game with an infield single, and he quickly stole second. Chett Zeise then walked but Jake Mangler grounded into a 6-4-3 double play, and it appeared as though Rowley might be able to get out of the inning unscathed. But Phil Keppler dumped an RBI single to left field to score McQuillan from third base with the game’s first run.

Army threatened to tie the score in the bottom of the first as the Black Knights strung together three singles. Daniel Cortes reached first on a base hit and advanced to second base on Watkins’ two-out single. Mark McCants followed with a base hit to center field, but Cortes was thrown out at home plate.

The Black Knights manufactured a run in the bottom of the second inning, knotting the score at 1-1. Murtle, who has been swinging a hot bat of late, began the frame by lining a double into the gap in right center field. Harold Earls moved Murtle to third base with a sacrifice bunt, and Alex Jensen drove him home with a sacrifice fly to right field.

After a pair of scoreless innings, Army moved in front for the first time in the bottom of the fifth as the Black Knights scored four runs on three hits and three Iowa errors. The four-run uprising helped Army take a 5-1 advantage.

Earls began the rally with a single to right center. Jensen was then hit by a pitch and Zach Price walked to load the bases. Tyler Williams, who replaced Cortes, drove home Earls and Jensen to put the Black Knights on top, 3-1. Kevin McKague followed with an RBI single, plating Price. J.T. Watkins then singled to right field and Williams scored.

The run support was more than enough for Rowley, who allowed just two hits after the first inning. Manny Fernandez worked around a pair of singles in the eighth and Kevin McKague tossed a scoreless ninth to finish the game.

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