WICHITA, Kansas — The Wellington (Kansas) Heat scored seven runs in the first four innings to hand the USA National Team, represented by the University of Iowa, a 7-3 defeat in its opening game of the NBC World Series on Sunday night at Lawrence-Dumont Stadium in Wichita, Kansas.
“We played a team that swung the bats well tonight and battled hard,” said UI head coach Rick Heller. “They put the ball in play and a lot of ground balls found holes. Early on I thought our at-bats were solid until about the sixth or seventh inning.”
Iowa scored its first run in the bottom of the first off an RBI double from Robert Neustrom to right field, allowing Tanner Wetrich to score. The Heat countered with a solo home run from Jason Jones to lead off the top of the second inning, tying the game, 1-1.
The Heat went on to score five runs in the third inning and one more in the fourth.
An RBI single from Kyle Crowl allowed Tyler Cropley to score and put Iowa back on the board. Mitchell Boe followed with a sacrifice fly to center field, giving the Hawkeyes their final two runs of the game.
Brett Clark threw 6 1/3 innings for the Heat, allowing six hits. Iowa starter Kyle Shimp pitched 2 1/2 innings before Cole McDonald took the mound for six innings. Derek Lieurance would close out the game for Iowa.
“We played a good defensive game,” said Heller. “I thought Cole pitched well, his breaking ball was as good as I’ve seen it since he has been at Iowa. Derek also showed a lot of signs of being back to where he was before his injury.”
The USA National Team returns to action Tuesday, opponent and time to be determined.
“This is why we came down here,” said Heller. “We have 20 days to try and get where we need to be, this was great for our guys to get some pressure and exposure to pool play. There are a lot of positive things that we can gain from this and move forward getting better.”