EVANSTON, Ill. — The University of Iowa baseball team dropped a 6-5 decision to Northwestern in the series finale Sunday afternoon at Rocky Miller Park. The Wildcats took 2-of-3 games in the weekend series.
“It was a rough day today,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “It was a rough day on the mound and we gave some more free bases up that cost us.”
Trailing 6-5, Iowa tried rallying in the ninth when junior Jake Adams and sophomore Robert Neustrom reached on back-to-back base hits. Iowa’s rally fell short when Ben Norman flew out to left and Tyler Cropley struck out swinging to end the game.
Iowa built a 5-0 lead over the first four innings. Senior Mason McCoy doubled down the left field line in the first inning before Adams followed with a two-run home run to left field to giving Iowa an early 2-0 lead. It was Adam’s 13th home run of the season.
The Hawkeyes added three more runs in the fourth inning. Norman singled through the left side, and Cropley connected on a two-run shot to left field — his fourth home run of the season and second of the series — to push the lead to 4-0.
Whelan knocked in the fifth run with an RBI single to right field, scoring Corbin Woods.
“Offensively we started out well over the first four innings,” Heller said. “I liked the way things were going as we were getting good swings off.”
Trailing 5-0, Northwestern chopped into the Hawkeye lead with a four-run fourth. The Wildcats scored the tying run in the fifth inning and the go-ahead run in the sixth on a RBI single by second baseman Alex Erro.
Iowa sophomore Shane Ritter (2-2) suffered the loss, allowing one run on two hits in three innings of relief. Sophomore Cole McDonald allowed four runs on six hits and struck out four in three innings of work in the start.
Northwestern’s Josh Levy (3-1) earned the win. The freshman gave up two runs on five hits in 2 2/3 innings.
“Their bullpen came in and pitched well,” said Heller. “It was kind of the same story as yesterday. We were unable to string anything together down the stretch.”
Three Hawkeyes had multi-hit games in Adams (2-for-4), McCoy (2-for-4), and Norman (2-for-4.) Adams and Cropley each hit home runs on the day and had two RBIs.
Iowa (19-11, 3-3) returns to action Tuesday, hosting Western Illinois in a midweek contest at Duane Banks Field. First pitch is scheduled for 6:05 p.m.