COLLEGE PARK, Md. — Senior shortstop Tanner Wetrich had a game for the ages, blasting two game-tying home runs — a three-run homer in the third and a grand slam in the eighth — for seven RBIs, but it wasn’t enough as Maryland outlasted the University of Iowa baseball team, 10-8, on Saturday afternoon at Bob “Turtle” Smith Stadium.
Wetrich wasn’t the only Tanner who was locked in offensively. Redshirt sophomore Tanner Padgett went 4-for-5 with a solo home run and two runs scored. Padgett’s four-hit day was his second of the season to become the first Hawkeye to record two four-hit games.
Iowa took its first lead of the series on Padgett’s solo home run in the top of the second, but fell behind 4-1 after three innings. Wetrich’s three-run blast to dead center briefly tied the game at four before Maryland took a 6-4 lead in the bottom of the inning.
The Terrapins extended their lead to 8-4 through seven innings. With the bases loaded, Wetrich’s grand slam tied the game at eight in the top of the eighth. His fourth, fifth, sixth, and seventh RBIs of the game gave Iowa a momentum boost and gave the Hawkeyes their second four-run comeback of the series. Senior Mitchell Boe was stranded at first base to end the frame.
In the bottom of the eighth, Maryland retook the lead on a Chris Alleyne double to right field off junior Grant Leonard, who received the loss, that scored two runs. Iowa trailed 10-8 heading to the ninth inning.
Redshirt sophomore Brett McCleary, who entered the game as a sub, led off the ninth with a double to left field, but he was stranded at second base after the next three Hawkeyes were retired. Iowa left seven runners on base.
From the start, Hawkeye pitchers struggled to get outs in key situations, allowing 13 hits — seven for extra bases. Junior starting pitcher Grant Judkins lasted only three innings – his shortest outing of the season – allowing four runs (two earned) on three hits and three walks.
Out of the bullpen, Junior Trace Hoffman, sophomore Trenton Wallace, and Leonard all allowed at least one earned run in relief.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It’s another tough loss for us. It’s disappointing how we pitched. We gave up runs in six of the eight innings. Every time we score, we’d go back out and couldn’t shut them down. We didn’t pitch well all weekend long and it continued today, unfortunately.
“Overall, we didn’t quit; we didn’t back down and kept fighting. The inability to make pitches when we needed to ultimately cost us.”
On Tanner Wetrich’s day:
“It’s great to see. He came through big time and picked us back up and made up (for his two errors) with a grand slam and a three-run homer. He had a great day at the plate.”
On Tanner Padgett’s day:
“He had a good day, too. He was getting on base and had four hits. He and Tanner were the guys that got it done today for us on offense. Those two did a nice job.”
- Wetrich was the first Hawkeye to eclipse five RBIs this season and first Iowa hitter with six or more RBIs since Matt Hoeg a year ago against Oklahoma State on May 5.
- Fullard had one hit today to extend his hitting streak to a team-best 10 games and his on-base streak to a team-best 21 games.
- No Hawkeye starting pitcher lasted more than five innings in the three-game series.
The Big Ten Tournament starts on Wednesday, May 22 at TD Ameritrade Park in Omaha, Nebraska. The Hawkeyes are the No. 8 seed where they will face top-seeded Indiana at 5 p.m. (CT).
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