Hawkeyes Lose Late Lead, Fall to Illinois State, 7-6

April 2, 2008

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IOWA CITY, IA — The Iowa baseball team lost a heartbreaker Wednesday afternoon to Illinois State, 7-6, at Duane Banks Field. The Redbirds scored four unanswered runs the last three innings to overtake the Black and Gold. The Hawkeyes were aggressive on the base path and took advantage of base runners, only leaving six on base. The game featured eight Iowa hits, five stolen bases and seven Iowa pitchers.

Iowa led 6-5 heading into the top of the ninth. In the final frame, Illinois State’s first three players reached base off Hawkeye closer Matt Mossey. The senior got the next two batters to strike out and was one out away from securing a Hawkeye victory. Unfortunately, the Redbirds took the lead on a Mike Stalowy grounder that got past Caleb Curry near the second base bag, as the error scored two unearned runs to make it 7-6.

On the afternoon, Curry led the Hawkeyes on the base path with three stolen bases. Justin Toole was red hot, going 2-for-4 with two doubles, two RBI, scoring two runs, with a walk and a stolen base. Kurtis Muller was 2-for-3 and drove in two RBI.

“We didn’t do a good job of playing nine innings today,” said Iowa Head Coach Jack Dahm. “Again, we had an early lead, but played not to lose. This was a tough loss.

“We have to get back into a routine and get back to the things we practiced in the off season,” Dahm said. “We’re making things harder than it has to be.”

Kevin Hoef started things off for the Hawkeyes in the first, reaching on his tenth hit-by-pitch of the season. Toole then hit a one-out double to right to score Hoef and give him his 24th RBI of the season. Curry hit a grounder, and moved Toole over to third. Muller took advantage of the runner on third and hit a two-out single to left to bring Toole in and make it 2-0.

The Redbirds (10-13) answered in the top of the second with one run. The inning featured a leadoff Kyle Cherney solo home run. Illinois State kept at it in the third, and tied it up 2-2.

The Hawkeyes (7-14) continued to swing their bats with authority in the third. Hoef started things with a single up the middle and advanced to second on a balk. Mossey hit the ball in play, to advance Hoef to third. Toole hit an infield grounder for an RBI. Curry got on a hit-by-pitch and stole second, advancing to third on a throwing error by the catcher. Muller took advantage yet again of the runner on third and hit a single through the right side, making it 5-2.

The Redbirds kept at it in the fifth, scoring one run to make it 5-3. Cherney continued to swing for the fences and hit his second solo home run of the day.

The Black and Gold added another run in the fifth to stretch their lead to 6-3. Toole started things with a double to right center and was hit in with a Curry single to left. Curry then stole second and third, but was stranded.

The Redbirds plated a run in the top of the seventh. But Brock Alberts got himself out of a jam by turning a double play with a man on third. In the eighth, Illinois State inched closer scoring one run to close the gap to 6-5.

The Hawkeyes kept at it ninth but fell short. The inning featured a one-out hit by Hoef and a Mossey single.

Iowa hosts Purdue at Duane Banks field in its Big Ten home opener Friday night. First pitch is set for 6 p.m.

GAME SUMMARYIllinois State      011   010   112  ---  7  11  1Iowa            203   010   000  ---  6  10  2

WP - Theisen (3-3)
LP - Mossey (0-3)