Iowa Drops Series Opener in the Ninth to Minnesota

May 2, 2008

Box Score

IOWA CITY, IA – The Iowa Hawkeyes dropped the series opener to Minnesota tonight in the top of the ninth, 7-6, at Duane Banks Field. Iowa’s offense amassed 13 hits, but four costly errors doomed the Hawkeyes as the Golden Gophers scored three unearned runs in the win.

With the game tied 6-6 in the top of the ninth, the Hawkeyes gave up a solo shot to Minnesota’s Nate Hanson to lose the game, 7-6. Iowa came up to the plate ready to go in the bottom of the ninth. With two-outs Wes Freie ripped a base hit to right, which was followed by a Kurtis Muller line drive single to the short stop to give Iowa a threat. However, Scott Matyas’ second strikeout of the inning ended the threat.

In the loss, the Hawkeye pitching staff had a strong outing. Brock Alberts was one shy of his season high with nine strikeouts. He went six and one-third innings, allowing six runs, only three of which were earned, on seven hits. Other Iowa pitchers were Kyle Heim and Andrew Porter. The three pitchers accumulated 11 strikeouts, which is a team high during league play. The previous season high was 10 at Indiana on April 11.

“Brock (Alberts) threw the ball extremely well and unfortunately we didn’t help him out tonight,” said Iowa Head Coach Jack Dahm. “He threw a good enough ballgame for a win. We didn’t make smart defensive plays and we gave Minnesota its first two runs.”

The Hawkeyes swung the bat well, eight Hawkeyes recorded hits and four collected multiple hits. Caleb Curry led the Black and Gold with three RBI and a stolen base. Muller swung the bat with authority, going 3-for-5 with an RBI. Freie also continued to swing the bat well, collecting his 10th consecutive game with a hit, going 2-for-4 with two RBI.

The Golden Gophers crossed the plate first, scoring one run in the top of the first to take an early 1-0 advantage. Jeff DeSchmidt got the RBI for Minnesota with a sacrifice fly to right center.

Iowa (17-25, 6-15) took a 3-1 lead in the bottom of the third, taking advantage of a Minnesota error. Kevin Hoef reached first on an error to start the Hawkeyes off. Justin Toole continued things with a single through the left side to record his 17th consecutive game with a hit. Curry took advantage of the two Hawkeyes on base, and hit a three-run shot to left center. It was Curry’s fifth homer of the year, which is a team high.

Minnesota (17-27, 7-14) was back at it in the fourth, taking advantage of a Hawkeye error to plate one and make it 3-2. Nate Hanson scored the lone Golden Gopher run.

The Black and Gold added an insurance run in the bottom of the fifth, to make it a 4-2 ballgame. Hoef reached on a one-out bunt single, and advanced to second on a Toole single to center field. Hoef moved to third to put runners on the corners on a fly out. Freie took advantage of runners on third and picked up an RBI with a sacrifice fly to center field.

The Golden Gophers stayed patient in the top of the seventh and took the lead for the first time since the top of the first, 6-4. They scored four runs, taking advantage of one Hawkeye error. Matt Nohelty hit a three-run round tripper to right field to put Minnesota on top.

Despite losing the lead, Iowa struck bat in the bottom of the seventh. Curry took advantage of the second Golden Gopher error of the evening to reach first, and stole his 30th base of the season to reach second. Freie tattooed a triple to right field to score Curry and make it 6-5. Muller delivered and drilled another ball to right field for an RBI double to tie up the ballgame.

“The big innings are hurting us,” Dahm said. “When you give a team extra outs it is going to come back to haunt you. We need to find a way to come back and get them tomorrow.”

The Hawkeyes are set to host Minnesota in a doubleheader at Duane Banks Field in Iowa City tomorrow. Game one is scheduled for 1 p.m.

GAME SUMMARYMinnesota   100  100  401 --  7  12  1Iowa       003  010  200 --  6  13  4

WP - Matyas (2-3)
LP - Porter (1-5)