OMAHA, Neb. — The University of Iowa baseball team took a 1-0 lead in the top of the second, but proceeded to allow 11 unanswered runs to fall 11-1 in eight innings to fifth-seeded Nebraska in the quarterfinals of the Big Ten Tournament on Friday at TD Ameritrade Park.
Iowa’s run-rule loss puts the Hawkeyes into the loser’s bracket where it will face No. 4 seed Minnesota in an elimination game at approximately 8:30 p.m (CT).
Iowa starting pitcher Grant Judkins (4-7) lasted just 1 1/3 innings, allowing four earned runs on five hits and two walks. The control issues continued for Iowa’s bullpen, who walked eight batters in relief.
In the second inning, Iowa used two singles and a walk to score the game’s first run, but that was all the Hawkeye offense had to show for. Senior Mitchell Boe had Iowa’s lone RBI with a single to left field.
Following Boe, senior Chris Whelan left the bases loaded with a fly out to centerfield. Nebraska took advantage of the missed opportunity in the bottom half of the second scoring four runs.
After three hits and two walks, the Cornhuskers took a 2-1 lead, bouncing Judkins from the game. Senior Jason Foster relieved Judkins, allowing two inherited runners to score, giving Nebraska a 4-1 lead through two.
Iowa’s offense couldn’t capitalize on putting the leadoff hitter on in the third, fourth, and fifth innings, while Nebraska added a run in the third and another four-spot in the fifth inning to lead 9-1 through five.
Nebraska delivered its final blow in the eighth inning after a leadoff triple and a sacrifice fly to end the game via run-rule.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“Grant (Judkins) didn’t have a great start. He was struggling to throw strikes with all of his pitches. I was hoping he could fight through it. We fell behind early and didn’t do too much after that.
“We were sloppy on the mound and Nebraska played clean baseball. It was a tough loss.”
On bouncing back in elimination game versus Minnesota:
“It starts on the mound. We need a quality start out of Cam Baumann. We’re playing for our lives, so hopefully Cam will step for us like Cole (McDonald) did in game one. Our bullpen’s still in good shape. Minnesota is swinging the bat well. If we pitch, it will be a good game, and we’ll have a chance to win.”
- Sophomore Izaya Fullard went 2-for-4 to extend his hitting streak to a career-best 12 games and his on-base streak to 23 contests.
- Freshman Brendan Sher scored Iowa’s only run in the first inning.
- It’s the third time this season has issued 10 or more walks. The Hawkeyes are 1-2 in such games.
Iowa will face fourth-seeded Minnesota tonight at 8:30 p.m. (CT) in an elimination game. Sophomore left-hander Cam Baumann (4-4, 5.49 ERA) will start for the Hawkeyes.
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