Feb. 20, 2009
CLEARWATER, FL — The Iowa baseball team lost to Illinois in its season opener, 8-3, at Jack Russell Stadium Friday night. The start of the game was delayed 90 minutes due to earlier games running long and did not end until midnight. After the first day of competition, the Big Ten leads the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge, 5-3.
The Illini (1-0) took a 1-0 lead in the top of the first. Domonic Atobelli got a two-out RBI single to bring in the lone run.
Iowa (0-1) came back to tie it in the second, 1-1 taking advantage of an Illinois error. Wes Freie led things off with a single through the left side and two-outs later scored on a missed pop up by Illinois’ first baseman.
The Black and Gold strung some hits together in the bottom of the fifth to grab a 2-1 advantage. Zach McCool started things off with a single to center and advanced to third on a failed pickoff attempt by lefty Phil Haig. Trevor Willis kept things alive with a no out walk, followed by a Ryan Durant RBI-single to drive in McCool. With two runners on base and one out, Justin Toole lined into a double play to end the inning.
Illinois reclaimed the lead in the sixth, scoring five runs to take a 6-2 lead. The inning featured three Illini hits, along with three Hawkeye errors. The Illini added single runs in the seventh and eighth innings.
Iowa plated one run in the bottom of the ninth. Willis recorded a one-out triple and scored two batters later when Kevin Hoef reached on a fielding error by Illinois’ third baseman.
In the loss, four Hawkeyes recorded Iowa’s five hits. Durant went 2-for-3 with an RBI and a walk, Willis went 1-for-2 with two walks and a triple, Freie went 1-for-3 with a run scored and a walk and McCool was 1-for-3 with a run.
Michael Jacobs, Tony Manville and Jarred Hippen had solid outings tonight on the hill. The Hawkeye trio allowed only two walks and three earned Illini runs. Jacobs received the hard-luck loss tonight after throwing five solid innings, allowing only one earned run.
Iowa will take on St. John’s at Jack Russell Stadium in Clearwater, FL, tomorrow at the BIG EAST/Big Ten Challenge. First pitch is set for noon (CST).
GAME SUMMARY Illinois 100 005 110 - 8 11 3Iowa 010 010 001 - 3 5 4
WP - Haig (1-0)LP - Jacobs (0-1)SV - Martin (1)