The ICCAC is doing something a little different this year. Instead of one team hosting a four game series, each team is two games on one day and traveling to the other site for two games the next. The Tigers got their first taste of this format On March 31 and April 1 when on Sunday, they travelled to Iowa Western and on Monday, the Reivers visited Marshalltown.
The Tigers and Reivers got their first contest of the year started in back and forth style. After the Tigers went scoreless in the top of the first, the Reivers got on the board first.
The scoring started after the Reivers led the game off with back to back singles. Tigers' starting pitcher, Diego Almonte then settled in and retired Ronald Sweeny III on a line drive to center. The leadoff batter, Cooper Bowman tagged from second and advanced to third. The cleanup batter, Ross Indlecoffer, flew out to left field and scored Bowman on the sac fly. With a runner on first and two outs, Almonte earned the third out of the inning on a line drive to short stop, Candido Encarnacion and the Tigers got out of the inning having surrendered just one run.
After a scoreless second inning, the Tigers took the lead in the top of the third inning. The inning didn't get started on the right note as Luis Menendez struck out swinging. With one out, leadoff batter Candido Encarnacion earned a full-count walk. Tom Josten then took an 0-1 pitch deep to right-center field to put the Tigers ahead 2-1. The next two Tiger batters went down in order, but the Tigers led 2-1 headed into the bottom of the third.
The Reivers pulled even with the Tigers at two in the bottom of the third inning as Jaden Rolffs drove in Sweeny II with a one-out RBI double. Again, the Tigers were able to minimize the damage as Almonte got the next two batters out to leave runners on second and third.
From there, it was all Reivers. The Tigers only managed one more hit on the day when Eli Berggeron doubled to left-center field to lead off the sixth inning. Meanwhile the home team went on to score multiple runs in the fourth and fifth innings and cruised to an 8-2 victory to claim game one of the series.
Game two was never in question for the home team.
After a scoreless top of the first inning for the Tigers, the Reivers went to work at the plate. A leadoff single off of David Davilla was just the start of the inning. The Reivers batted around the order in the bottom of the first en route to scoring nine runs on eight hits, one walk, and two errors.
The Tigers were never able to get back in the game as they recorded only three hits in the game while allowing the Reivers to score in each of their four turns at the plate. The Reivers never looked back during their 14-1 route of the visitors.
A lone bright spot for the Tigers was a solo homerun by sophomore, Travon Hughes in the fifth inning.
Game three got off to a rough start for everybody as the series made it's way to Marshalltown. With a 1:30 PM scheduled first pitch, the umpire crew was inadvertently sent to Iowa Western instead of MCC. So after an hour and a half delay to find new umpires, game three finally got started at 3 PM.
The delay didn't seem to effect the Reiver bats at all. In the top of the first, their leadoff batter, Cooper Bowman got things started with a single and then advanced on a groundout to the shortstop by Caleb Balgaard. Jaden Rolffs drove Bowman in on a single and Ronald Sweeny III hit a two-run dinger to bring the score to 3-0 when the first inning ended.
It was 7-0 in the bottom of the third before the Tigers would plate two runs to pull the game to 7-2. The runs came largely thanks to some miscues by the visiting team. Reece Blay started the home half of the inning by earning a walk and Tom Josten moved him over to third with a single. Jeffry Roldan then reached on a catcher's interference call to load the bases up. Blay scored and Josten and Roldan moved to scoring position on a passed ball. With two in scoring position and nobody out, Eli Bergerron popped up in the infield for the first out. Candido Encarnacion then grounded out to the second baseman to allow Josten to score before Tyler Coleman popped up to end the inning. But the Tigers now felt in the game.
The two teams traded runs in the fourth inning to make the score 8-3 Reivers.
After holding Iowa Western scoreless in the top of the fifth, the Tigers chipped away at the deficit. Bergerron walked to start the inning, Encarnacion singled, Coleman singled, and Luis Menendez was hit by a pitch all with no outs. Now trailing 8-4, Ryan Carter hit a two RBI single to left to score Coleman and Encarnacion. However, Menendez was thrown out trying to advance to third. With the score 8-6, Carter swiped second base to move into scoring position before Kole Jurgens struck out for the second out of the inning. After Reece Blay walked to put runners on first and second. Josten went down swinging to end the inning. But there was renewed energy at Shawn Williams field as the Tigers were now within two runs.
That energy quickly fell flat though as the Reivers got a leadoff pinch-hit home run from Javon Mason and the Reivers brought up the top of their order. From there, the wheels fell off. Iowa Western went on to plate 13 runs in the top of the sixth on a multitude of extra base hits and homeruns.
The Tigers couldn't respond in the bottom of the sixth and dropped game three of the series 21-6.
With game 3 getting a late start, game four also got off to a late start. With no lights, the game has been halted after three innings of play and will be picked up the next time the two teams meet. The Tigers are leading 5-4, but a full report of this game will be coming upon completion.