IOWA CITY, Iowa — A strong, six-inning pitching performance by sophomore Cam Baumann and a two-run single by senior Tanner Wetrich in the second were enough for the University of Iowa baseball team to take game two, 2-1, over No. 23 Illinois at Duane Banks Field on Saturday afternoon.
The Hawkeyes’ win clinched the series victory — their second over a top-25 ranked foe this season.
“It’s big to get back into the race in the Big Ten,” head coach Rick Heller said. “You open the season up 0-3 (in the conference) and that’s not something you want to do. We had to come back and do something this weekend. So far so good. Hopefully, we can come out and do the same thing tomorrow.”
After redshirt freshman Connor McCaffery singled to start the second inning, junior Ben Norman joined McCaffery on the bases after being hit by the pitch. The runners advanced into scoring position via a Chris Whelan sacrifice bunt, and scored on a single by senior Tanner Wetrich.
“I was trying to be aggressive,” Wetrich said. “I’ve been falling behind the last few weeks with first-pitch fastballs. I was trying to jump on a fastball. He hung a curveball and I put a good swing on it to drive two runs in.”
Wetrich’s one-out single proved to be the game-winning hit and Iowa led 2-0 until the top of the fifth when Illinois scored one run on three singles.
Baumann (1-2) allowed his fifth and final hit in the sixth inning, but erased it on a 6-4-3 double play to hand the game over to the bullpen with a 2-1 lead. The Fairfield, Iowa, native had his fastball working and used the weather to his advantage to earn his first win of the season.
“I threw 80 percent fastballs the whole game,” said Baumann, who struck out four and recorded his first quality start of the season. “My ball was moving and they had a hard time hitting it. The double play ball was there and it was huge. It got me out of some situations and also helped me go six innings today.”
Sophomore Trenton Wallace relieved Baumann in the seventh inning and pitched the final three innings to earn his first career save. The Rock Island, Illinois, native closed the game out, allowing only one hit, while striking out four.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It wasn’t an easy day for the offense with the cold weather and how the wind was blowing. It was tough to get much going in the air. Cam (Baumann) gave us a good start. We felt like it was going to be a good matchup for Cam with a type of day it was with his fastball — especially if he can pitch inside to their right-handers. He was able to do that a majority of the day. Trenton (Wallace) came in, did an awesome job and closed it out.”
- Sophomore Izaya Fullard singled in the first inning to extend his hitting-streak to nine games.
- Wallace extended his scoreless innings streak to 8 1/3 innings, dating back to his midweek start against Chicago State.
- Iowa is looking for its series sweep over a ranked opponent since 2015 when the Hawkeyes took three games from No. 19 Indiana.
The Hawkeyes will go for the series sweep tomorrow afternoon at 1:05 p.m. (CT) with junior Grant Judkins (2-2, 1.77 ERA) starting on the mound.
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