IOWA CITY, Iowa — In a game where the 24th-ranked University of Iowa baseball team (30-19, 12-9) led 4-1 through six innings, it was Michigan State (19-31, 7-13) who stole the show, winning 7-5 on Sunday at Duane Banks Field to take the series.
The Spartans scored five runs with two outs in the seventh inning to hand Iowa its first series loss in the last seven weekends, having not lost back-to-back games in a month.
“You could feel the momentum,” head coach Rick Heller said. “We had a chances and didn’t quit. We got the tying run to second and didn’t get the hit. It’s a tough way to lose. We didn’t play poorly or anything. We ran into a team that’s playing super hot right now.”
Trailing by three runs, Iowa had life in the ninth inning. Senior Mitchell Boe scored on a throwing error after doubling to left field with one out, but the Hawkeyes left the tying run on second to end the game and spoil Senior Day for nine Hawkeyes.
Boe went 2-for-4 with two runs scored in his return to the lineup since suffering facial fractures on April 28 in a collision at Ohio State. Fellow senior, Chris Whelan, also added two hits and an RBI, while senior Tanner Wetrich scored a run from the nine-hole.
It was Whelan’s RBI-single in the third inning that broke the scoreless tie to put Iowa ahead 1-0. The Hawkeyes scored an unearned run in the fourth and two more in the fifth after having the bases loaded with no outs to give Iowa a 4-1 lead for starting pitcher Grant Judkins, who was sharp.
Judkins struck out five batters in the first three innings to finish with seven strikeouts — his most since March 2 at Oklahoma State. The right-hander from Pella, Iowa, worked around two baserunners in the fourth with an inning ending 6-4-3 double play.
His only blemish came in the fifth inning, allowing a Michigan State run to score after a leadoff double. Judkins handed the ball over to junior Trace Hoffman in the seventh inning after recording his eighth quality start of the season.
In the seventh, Michigan State loaded the bases with two outs after already plating one run. Marty Bechina delivered the go-ahead, bases-clearing double to right center field before Royce Ando tacked on another run.
Michigan State took its first lead of the game at 6-4 halfway through seven. Iowa put a runner on in the seventh and eighth inning, but could not muster a run.
Iowa mounted a small comeback in the ninth, scoring an unearned run to cut the lead to 7-5. Junior Austin Marin flied out to center to end the game, handing Hoffman his second loss of the season.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“I liked how we came out and played. We got a great start out of (Grant) Judkins. Our offense was solid and had good at-bats. We had everything where we wanted it to be with our guys in place. It didn’t get done today. (Michigan State) is super hot. We had no answer for (Royce) Ando and today (Bryce) Kelly – we couldn’t get them out. Everything they hit found a hole with about four chart-busters. These guys had never hit a ball there all year and they hit the ball there.
“This group won’t go out and lay down or anything like that – they’ll come back and fight this week.”
- Iowa’s six-series winning streak — its longest since 2015 — was snapped today.
- Whelan extended his hitting streak to seven games, including two multi-hit games against Michigan State.
The Hawkeyes travel to Macomb, Illinois, on Tuesday for a midweek game versus Western Illinois at 12 p.m. (CT). Next weekend, Iowa will head east to play Maryland in its final series of the regular season.
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