MARION, Ill. — The University of Iowa baseball team dropped two games to Evansville in a doubleheader on Sunday at Rent One Park. The Hawkeyes fell 6-0 in game one and 3-1 in game two to fall to 7-6 on the season.
“What a difference a day makes,” said Iowa head coach Rick Heller. “We played as well as we had all season last night, and we came out today in game one and had our worst outing of the season.”
GAME 1 | Evansville 6, Iowa 0
After scoring 18 runs in the series opener, Iowa failed to score in game for the first time this season, dropping game one of the doubleheader, 6-0. The Hawkeyes had only three hits with two coming off the bat of sophomore Izaya Fullard.
Sophomore southpaw Cam Baumann started on the mound, allowing two earned runs on six hits and one walk in five innings. Freshman Duncan Davitt pitched the final three innings, allowing three hits and three walks for two earned runs.
Iowa had an early chance in the top of the second with one out and runners on first and third, but sophomore Trenton Wallace’s flare to left field was caught.
Junior Austin Martin led off Iowa’s half of the fourth, reaching on an error by the left fielder. Iowa left him stranded, before Evansville scored two unearned runs in the bottom half.
Junior Matthew Sosa’s second error of the game and an error charged to Chris Whelan after a miscommunication were too much to overcome. A.J. Fritz had an RBI single and leadoff hitter Sam Troyer laid down a perfect bunt down the third base line to capitalize on the Iowa miscues.
Evansville tacked on two more runs in the fifth on a Tanner Craig two-RBI double down the right field line. The Purple Aces led 4-0 through five, and added two more runs in the seventh.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“We faced a good pitcher in Nathan Croner, who went seven innings and limited us to two hits. Cam Baumann gave us a quality start and deserved a better fate. We were bad defensively. The mistakes we made today on defense cost us runs. Offensively we didn’t do anything, and when we did, we weren’t able to take advantage of it.”
GAME 2 | Evansville 3, Iowa 1
In game two, Iowa left 14 runners on base and dropped the series finale, 3-1. Martin and junior Ben Norman each record multi-hit games and pitcher Grant Judkins had an effective start, but it wasn’t enough.
“After game one, we bounced back,” Heller said. “We played with more energy, effort, and intensity, but we stranded 14 runners. It was a frustrating game. That’s as frustrating as it gets. We had them on the ropes.”
Iowa left the bases loaded in three straight innings from the third to the fifth.
Evansville jumped on Iowa in the first inning when Nate Reeder hit a leadoff double and came around to score. The Purple Aces led 1-0 after the one, and the Hawkeyes tied it up in the third.
In his second career start, Brendan Sher led off the third with a walk and advanced to third on a Mitchell Boe single over the shortstop’s head. Fullard drove in Sher for Iowa’s lone run of the doubleheader and Fullard’s sixth RBI of the series.
Iowa couldn’t capitalize after that, stranding nine runners in the third, fourth, and fifth on five hits.
Junior Grant Judkins pitched into the sixth inning with a final line of 5 2/3 innings where he allowed eight hits and two walks for three runs. Redshirt junior Kyle Shimp and junior Trace Hoffman pitched 2 1/3 innings of scoreless relief, allowing only one hit and no runs.
The Hawkeyes showed life in the top of the ninth following a Wetrich walk and a Norman hit. With first and third with two outs, Whelan grounded out to end the game.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“Four out of the first five innings, we were in situations where all we have to do is execute and put the ball in play with less than two outs. We had one bad at-bat after another in those situations. Grant Judkins gave us a solid start and Kyle Shimp and Trace Hoffman did a nice job out of the bullpen. We fought but strung together too many bad at-bats at the wrong times.
“We cleaned it up on defense, which was good to see. It is a wake-up call for our guys that you can’t walk in anywhere and not give your best effort and have a chance to win. It was a tough lesson today.”
- Iowa stranded 22 baserunners in the doubleheader.
- Iowa lost its first series of the season.
- All three Hawkeye starting pitchers threw at least five innings in the three-game series, while allowing three or fewer earned runs.
- Fullard extended his on-base streak to 13 games, while his 10-game scoring streak was snapped in game one.
- Fullard and Martin were the only two Hawkeyes to record two multi-hit games this weekend.
Weather permitting; Iowa will play its first home series of the season at Duane Banks Field, hosting a four-game series against Cal-State Northridge. Friday’s series opener is set for a 4:05 p.m. (CT) start.