MINNEAPOLIS — The University of Iowa baseball team clawed its way back from a 5-1 deficit to tie the game at five with a four-run seventh inning, before falling 10-6 to eighth-ranked North Carolina State in the first game of the CambriaCollegeClassic on Friday at U.S. Bank Stadium.
“We didn’t play well the first six innings,” head coach Rick Heller said. “We got down 5-0, and it looked like they were going to boat race us, but the guys fought back, tied it up and we didn’t make a play or pitch well out of the bullpen.”
North Carolina State jumped out to a 1-0 lead after the first inning and led 5-0 through four. Starter Jack Dreyer couldn’t record an out in the fourth inning, handing the ball over to senior Trace Hoffman, who pitched 2 2/3 inning of scoreless relief, and the Iowa bullpen.
Iowa found life in the fifth inning with back-to-back hits to start the inning. In his first career start, freshman Sam Link drove in his first career run on a sacrifice fly to center to drive in Iowa’s first run of the game.
Trailing 5-1 heading into the seventh inning, Iowa tied the game with four runs on four hits, one error, and two walks. Senior Ben Norman drove in the game-tying run on a single to centerfield, scoring senior Justin Jenkins, who doubled off the right center field wall to keep the rally alive.
Senior Zeb Adreon, who went 3-for-4 with two doubles and two runs scored, began the seventh-inning rally with his first double of the game.
North Carolina State’s catcher Patrick Bailey answered Iowa’s quick seventh-inning comeback with a solo home run in the bottom of the seventh and a grand slam in the eighth to give the Wolfpack a 10-5 lead.
The Hawkeyes almost mounted one last comeback in the ninth after junior Dylan Nedved, who entered the game as a pinch-hitter, recorded his second RBI of the game to cut into the Wolfpack lead, but that’s all Iowa had left in the tank.
“We ended up giving it up,” Heller said. “I like the fact that we fought back, even in the ninth inning. We scored a run and had two guys on, but we need to keep the game close and get things figured out in the bullpen and a better start than that on Friday night.”
- Iowa went 5-for-9 (.556) with runners in scoring position.
- The Hawkeyes scored five of their six runs in the final three innings.
- Iowa’s four doubles were a season high.
- Adreon recorded his sixth three-hit game of his career to tie a career-high.
Iowa plays its second game of the CambriaCollegeClassic from U.S. Bank Stadium tomorrow at 3 p.m. (CT) against No. 20 North Carolina.
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