IOWA CITY, Iowa — Michigan State scored four runs early and tacked on five runs over the final four frames to hand the 24th-ranked University of Iowa baseball team a 9-4 loss Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.
“We weren’t very good overall and we were bad on the mound, which was disappointing,” said Iowa head coach Rick Heller. “It happens from time-to-time, but it was a bad day to happen.”
The Spartans’ win evens the series at 1-1 heading into Sunday’s series finale, which is Iowa’s final home contest of the 2019 season.
“It’s a big day tomorrow,” said Heller. “You want to play well in the seniors last day at our field. A lot of those guys have been a part of a lot of things here, so you want to play your best and give your best effort.
“I feel like that’s going to happen. Grant (Judkins) will give us a chance and compete and we’ll get Mitch (Boe) back tomorrow and hopefully that will be a boost for us.”
Michigan State jumped on Iowa early, scoring one run in the first and three more in the third against Iowa starter Cam Baumann (4-3). The southpaw retired one batter in the fourth before being lifted after surrendering four runs on five hits in 3 1/3 innings.
The Hawkeyes found life, cutting the gap to 4-3 with two runs in the fourth and one in the fifth. Sophomore Izaya Fullard had a leadoff double to left field in the fourth and he scored on Austin Martin’s triple to center field, cutting the deficit to 4-1. Sophomore Tanner Padgett followed with an RBI groundout, cutting the lead in half.
In the fifth, junior Ben Norman had a one-out double to left center and moved to third on a Spartan fielding error. He scored on a second error from Michigan State in the inning, making the score 4-3.
Michigan State pulled away late, scoring five runs against four Hawkeye relievers. Iowa couldn’t capitalize on four Spartan errors in the game until Norman doubled home Iowa’s final run in the ninth.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“We were close at times to get the offense going, but (Tyranski) did a nice job and we knew that he was going to be a one of the biggest challenges of the weekend. We had some decent at-bats against him, but couldn’t get the hit to break it open.
“We felt like if we could have kept it close, we would have had a decent chance at the end, but the bullpen didn’t give us a chance to keep it close.”
- Martin finished 2-for-4 with a double and triple for his team-leading 17th multi-hit game of the season.
- Norman had a season-high two doubles and finished 2-for-4 for his first multi-hit game since April 23.
- Iowa’s pitching staff surrendered seven walks — the most since April 6.
The rubber match of the three-game series will begin at 1:05 p.m. (CT) Sunday. Iowa will honor its nine seniors during a pregame Senior Day ceremony beginning at 12:30 p.m.