By AUSTIN BRAMLEY
LINCOLN, Neb. — The University of Iowa baseball team fell 8-6 to Nebraska in Sunday afternoon’s series finale at Haymarket Park. The Hawkeyes won 2-of-3 games during the weekend series.
“We fought hard today,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “We were down early, but we kept fighting.”
Iowa led 6-5 when the Hawkeyes surrendered three runs in the bottom of the eighth to give up the lead. The three Husker runs came on a Mojo Hagge two-run triple down the left field line and on an Angelo Altavila RBI single to left field.
The game was a back-and-forth battle throughout. Trailing 5-4 heading into the eighth, Iowa took the lead on a Matt Hoeg RBI single down the left field line and a fielding error by Nebraska catcher Jesse Wilkening allowed sophomore Robert Neustrom and junior Jake Adams to score.
Trailing 3-1 in the sixth, Adams doubled off the left field wall to put runners on second and third. Neustrom followed with a two-run single to even the score at three.
“It was a back-and-forth contest all game long,” Heller said. “We had some guys that delivered some clutch hits.”
Entering the fifth with one hit, the Hawkeye offense started getting things in gear when junior Tyler Cropley doubled down the left field line. Designated hitter Austin Guzzo worked the count full and won the battle with an RBI single down the right field line to give Iowa its first run of the day, cutting the lead to 3-1.
Iowa reliever Nick Nelsen (0-2) suffered the loss. The junior entered the game in the seventh inning and gave up two runs on two hits in 1 1/3 innings.
Iowa starter Cole McDonald went three innings, giving up three runs (two earned) on five hits and walking two. The Hawkeyes used four pitchers out of the bullpen in Elijah Wood, Nelsen, Josh Martsching, and Zach Daniels.
“We didn’t get it done in the bullpen today,” Heller said. “We kept fighting back offensively, but couldn’t hold onto a lead.”
Nebraska’s Chad Luensmann picked up his second win of the season, pitching the eighth inning and giving up zero earned runs on two hits.
Adams (2-for-5), Neustrom (2-for-5), and Hoeg (2-for-4) each posted multi-hit games. Neustrom and Hoeg each had two RBIs.
The Hawkeyes (22-12, 5-4) return to action on Wednesday, traveling to Bradley for a midweek matchup.