By JAMES ALLAN
IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team tried to rally from an 8-1 deficit, but Ohio State withstood the charge, using a 19-hit day to post a 12-7 victory in game two of the weekend series Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
The Buckeyes jumped out to an 8-1 lead over the first 5 1/2 innings before the Hawkeyes put up three spots in consecutive frames to close to within 8-7 through seven. Ohio State put the game away with a four-run ninth inning.
“The one positive today is we didn’t quit, we fought back,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “It was a day we weren’t very good offensively and (OSU starter Connor) Curlis was good for them. The first five innings we couldn’t do anything.
“It wasn’t a great day, 19 hits… tip your hats to Ohio State for a lot of it.”
Iowa falls to 30-18 overall and 12-8 in Big Ten action. The loss was just the team’s fourth at Banks Field this season.
Ohio State grabbed a 1-0 lead in the first before scoring four runs on four hits in the fourth to take a 5-0 lead and chase UI starter Ryan Erickson.
The Hawkeyes got a run back in the bottom of the fourth on a towering solo home run from Jake Adams — his 18th of the season and second in as many days — to make the score 5-1, but Ohio State followed with a single run in the fifth and two in the sixth against Iowa’s bullpen.
Iowa began its comeback in the sixth, taking advantage of an Ohio State error. Junior Tyler Cropley reached on a Brady Cherry throwing miscue with two outs and Grant Judkins followed by drawing a walk. Junior Matt Hoeg then connected on a three-run home run to left field against OSU starter Connor Curlis to cut the deficit to 8-4.
It was Hoeg’s fourth home run of the season.
The Hawkeyes put up another crooked number in the seventh, again with a Cherry error jump-starting the rally. Sophomore Chris Whelan reached on another throwing error to start the inning before senior Mason McCoy followed with an RBI single to make the score 8-5.
With one out, sophomore Robert Neustrom singled home another run against reliever Adam Niemeyer to make the score 8-6. After Cropley sacrificed a runner to second, freshman Grant Judkins singled in the seventh run with a double into the right center field gap against OSU closer Seth Kinker.
Pinch runner Corbin Woods represented the game-tying run at second base, but he was left stranded when Hoeg grounded out to Jalen Washington at shortstop to end the threat.
Ohio State put the game away in the ninth, scoring four runs against senior reliever Josh Martsching. The Buckeyes five hits in the inning, including a solo home run from Shea Murray and a two-run home run from Connor Pohl.
Erickson (2-3) suffered the loss, allowing five runs on seven hits over four innings. Curlis (4-3) earned the victory, allowing four runs (one earned) over six innings with four strikeouts. Kinker went the final 2 1/3 for his sixth save of the season.
McCoy (2-for-5) and Judkins (2-for-3) had four of Iowa’s nine hits on the game, both posting multi-hit contests.
Sunday’s rubber match is slated for a 1:05 p.m. (CT) start. Iowa will honor its six seniors during a pregame ceremony.