By AUSTIN BRAMLEY
HOOVER, Ala. — The University of Iowa baseball team scored the game’s final three runs, but the Hawkeyes’ rally fell short in a 4-3 loss to Alabama State on Saturday night at the Hoover Classic at Hoover Metropolitan Stadium
The Hornets grabbed the game’s early momentum, plating two runs in the second and third innings before Iowa began its comeback.
Sophomore Robert Neustrom got the Hawkeyes on the board in the bottom of the third, connecting on a solo home to right field. It was the Sioux City, Iowa, native’s first home run of the year and second of his career.
Iowa added a single run in the fifth when junior Tyler Cropley drew a one-out walk and scored on an RBI double to left field.
McCoy was in the middle of Iowa’s rally in the seventh, reaching on a one-out walk. The Washington, Illinois, native then stole second base before scoring on junior Jake Adams’ RBI single to left field to make the score 4-3.
“It looked like we had a chance to come back tonight,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We put up some decent swings on (Alabama State starter Terrell) McCall, but it was one of those nights where it was cold and the wind was blowing in. There were a lot of line drive outs right at people tonight.”
Iowa starter Cole McDonald (1-1) suffered the loss, allowing four runs on seven hits over three innings. He surrendered a two-run home run to Gustavo Rios in the second and a two-run single to Cage Cox in the third.
Iowa’s bullpen — relievers Josh Marsching and Nick Nelsen — allowed a single hit over the final six frames. Nelsen pitched four shutout innings and struck out a pair.
“Nick did a great job tonight,” Heller said. “They couldn’t figure him out. Nick did a super job of keeping us in the ball game and giving us a chance to come back.”
McCall (1-1) earned the victory, tossing seven innings of five-hit ball. He allowed three runs, struck out five, and issued six walks. Patrick Coffin allowed a single hit over the final two innings to pick up his first save of the season.
McCoy and Adams accounted for four of Iowa’s six hits. McCoy was 2-for-4 with a run and RBI; Adams was 2-for-3 with an RBI.
Iowa (3-3) returns to action Sunday, closing out the Hoover Classic against Morehead State. First pitch is set for noon (CT).