IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team jumped out to a 2-0 lead in the first inning against Clarke University, but needed one run in the eighth to outlast the Pride, 3-2, in a midweek contest at Duane Banks Field on Tuesday afternoon.
Iowa extends its winning streak to a season-best five games and improves to 16-10 on the season.
Freshman Duncan Davitt made his second midweek start of the season and had his best outing. He threw a career-high five innings of one-hit ball, while striking out a career-best six without allowing a run.
“It was a great start,” head coach Rick Heller said. “He had good stuff today and composed himself well. He did exactly what we needed today and stayed under his pitch count so he’s ready to go this weekend.
The Hawkeyes scored two runs in the first inning on two hits, a walk, and a hit-by-pitch. Senior Mitchell Boe and junior Austin Martin performed a double steal with one out and sophomore Trenton Wallace drove in Boe from third to score the game’s first run.
Junior Ben Norman singled to center to plate Martin, but that was all Iowa could muster before the eighth inning.
Clarke’s Tsubasa Maruyama entered the game with two outs in the second and pitched 6 2/3 innings of scoreless relief. The Hawkeyes were able to get six hits off Maruyama, but nothing hard and none for extra bases. After 100 pitches, Iowa forced Clarke to go to the bullpen and Iowa capitalized.
Clarke scored a run in the seventh and a run in the eighth — on a solo home run — to tie the game at two halfway through eight innings.
With one out and the bases loaded, Chris Whelan delivered Iowa’s go-ahead RBI in the bottom of the eighth on a sacrifice fly to left field. Junior Matthew Sosa, who entered as a pinch-runner for pinch-hitter Grant Judkins, scored on the play.
Senior Jason Foster threw the final 1 1/3 innings to earn his first win of the season. He struck out one without allowing any runs or hits. Senior Shane Ritter threw a scoreless sixth inning with one strikeout, while freshman Clayton Nettleton and junior Adam Ketelsen also saw action out of the bullpen.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“We didn’t string any (hits) together and not much for extra bases, which makes it hard to score when you do it that way. Tip your hat to (Tsubasa) Murayama. He went almost seven innings against us and didn’t give up a run. (It was) a pitching clinic. He did a nice job of changing speeds, which kept us off balance. We didn’t barrel up any balls on him and that was pretty much the story. We didn’t make very good adjustments, which was the disappointing part of today.
“Our pitching in general was good. It was great to see Jason Foster close out the game the way he did. With the situation we’re in and the injuries on the mound, getting Shane (Ritter), Clayton (Nettleton), and Jason (Foster) to a spot where they can help us on the weekend would be a huge boost right now. Today was a real positive step for all three of those guys.”
- Whelan returned to the leadoff spot for the first time this season, reaching base three out of five plate appearances.
- Zeb Adreon’s pinch-hit triple in the seventh was Iowa’s only extra-base hit of the game. It was the second straight game Iowa has had a triple.
- Connor McCaffery made his first career start at first base.
Iowa returns to Duane Banks Field for another midweek contest Wednesday against Illinois State at 4:05 p.m. (CT).
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