COLLEGE PARK, Md. — In a game where the University of Iowa baseball team trailed 6-2 through eight innings, the Hawkeyes rallied to score four runs in the ninth to tie the game before losing, 8-6, in walk-off fashion Thursday night at Bob “Turtle’ Smith Stadium.
The loss drops Iowa to 30-20 overall, 12-10 in Big Ten play. The Hawkeyes need a win or Northwestern loss to clinch a Big Ten Tournament berth for the sixth consecutive season.
Down 6-2, heading to the ninth inning, Iowa forced Maryland to go to the bullpen after starter Hunter Parsons, who tossed 127 pitches, plunked senior Tanner Wetrich to lead things off.
Following Wetrich, senior Chris Whelan and sophomore Izaya Fullard loaded the bases with a walk and a single. Wetrich scored on a double play off the bat of junior Austin Martin.
Down to their final out, the Hawkeyes strung together four consecutive hits to tie the game. Junior Ben Norman, who finished the game 3-for-5, drove in the game-tying RBI with the count full.
“Everyone was stepping up,” head coach Rick Heller said. “We were patient and everyone was making sure they got their pitch. We had two bunt hits in the inning. That’s how you give yourself a chance to comeback with some clutch hits.”
Iowa left two runners on second and third to head to the bottom of the ninth tied at six.
It was Maryland’s leadoff man AJ Lee — who was a problem all day for the Hawkeyes, going 3-for-4 with three RBIs — who ended the game with a walk-off home run to left field off junior Grant Leonard. It was Leonard’s first home run allowed all season.
Leonard was the fourth Hawkeye pitcher to enter the game. Senior Cole McDonald started the game, throwing five innings of six-hit ball, allowing four earned runs. He walked zero batters, but labored all game — throwing 33 pitches in the first inning.
Maryland scored two runs in the first inning on two hits and added two more on two-run home run by Maxwell Costes. It was 4-0 Terrapins before the Hawkeyes scored a run in the fifth and sixth to show life.
Iowa left six runners on base from the fifth inning to the eighth, while Maryland extended its lead to 6-2 through eight.
The Hawkeyes outhit the Terrapins, 14 to 10, including five in Iowa’s ninth-inning rally. The Hawkeyes left 11 runners on base.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“Our guys didn’t quit fighting. The last inning rally was awesome against a really good arm.
“I really liked what I saw from our offense today – up and down the lineup. We played a good game defensively. It’s disappointing when you fight back like that and don’t get a win, but I am proud of our effort and proud of our guys.”
- With a bunt single in his last at-bat, Fullard extended his hitting streak to eight games and his on-base streak to 18 games.
- Norman (3-for-5), Martin (2-for-5), Zeb Adreon (3-for-4), and Tanner Padgett (2-for-5) all recorded multi-hit games, while Norman added his seventh multi-RBI game of the season.
- Senior Jason Foster settled the Hawkeye pitching staff down with two innings of middle relief, allowing only one run.
Tomorrow’s game two is at 5:30 p.m. (CT) with sophomore Cam Baumann (4-3, 4.87 ERA) starting for the Hawkeyes.
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