IOWA CITY, Iowa — In the home opener, the University of Iowa baseball team dropped the series opener to Cal-State Northridge, 8-5, on Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field. The Hawkeyes led 3-2 through three, but the Matadors’ Sean Skelly’s three-run home run in the seventh inning was the difference.
“We had some opportunities,” said Iowa head coach Rick Heller. “We didn’t get the big hit. I thought our guys fought. We didn’t die at the end of the game, we gave ourselves a chance.”
The Hawkeyes loaded the bases in the ninth inning against CSUN closer Blake Schriever, bringing pinch-hitter Tanner Padgett to the plate as the potential game-winning run. Padgett went down swinging on a 2-2 count to end the game.
The Hawkeyes left 12 runners on base and allowed the Matadors to score seven runs with two outs.
Iowa tied the game at two in the bottom of the second on Mitchell Boe’s two-out, two-RBI single, scoring Chris Whelan and Lorenzo Elion. Boe finished the game with a team-high three hits.
The Hawkeyes saw their first and only lead of the game in the bottom of the third after junior Zeb Adreon singled to center field.
Starting pitcher Cole McDonald (1-3), who went five innings, got out of a jam in the top of the fourth after allowing the first two Matadors to reach. McDonald struck out four and allowed three runs on six hits and three walks on the day.
Kyle Shimp was the first of four Hawkeye relievers to enter the game from the bullpen. Shimp threw a scoreless sixth inning with two strikeouts, followed by Jason Foster in the seventh.
Foster struck out the first two batters he faced, but couldn’t retire the next three, allowing a three-run homer to Skelly. Drew Irvine and Trace Hoffman were the final two relievers to pitch.
In the bottom of the eighth with Iowa trailing 7-3, pinch-hitter Trenton Wallace came through with a double to left center field, scoring two Hawkeyes. Pinch-hitting for designated hitter Izaya Fullard, redshirt freshman Connor McCaffery struck out swinging to end the eighth in his first at-bat of the season.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“We came out ready to play. Cole McDonald didn’t have his secondary stuff today, and it hurt him. Northridge played well; they swung the bats well. They got some clutch hits. They scored five runs with two outs and nobody on. You don’t see that very often. Obviously, that can’t happen from a pitching standpoint, but tip your hat to them. We just have to be better all the way around. We need some guys to step up and get the big hit. We haven’t had that in three or four games.”
- Boe, Martin, and Elion recorded multi-hit games. It was Boe’s fourth multi-hit game of the season, Elion’s first, and Martin’s team-leading seventh.
- Iowa pitchers struck out nine batters, but issued seven free passes.
- Seven of CSUN’s eight runs were scored with two outs.
The Hawkeyes conclude their three-game series against Cal-State Northridge tomorrow with a doubleheader beginning at 1:05 p.m. (CT) at Duane Banks Field.
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