PISCATAWAY, N.J. – The University of Iowa baseball team clinched its fourth straight series win with a doubleheader sweep of Rutgers on Saturday afternoon at Bainton Field. The Hawkeyes won game one, 3-1, and completed the sweep with an 8-1 victory in the night cap.
The Hawkeyes have won a season-best seven consecutive games to improve to 15-9 overall. The winning streak is the longest since the 2019 season when the team also had a seven-game winning streak.
Iowa’s starting pitching Saturday was superb. The starting duo of redshirt sophomore Drew Irvine and redshirt junior Cam Baumann combined to allow just two runs 14 innings as both pitchers notched victories.
Game 1 | Iowa 3, Rutgers 1
For the second straight start, Irvine (2-2) dazzled on the mound. The redshirt sophomore right-hander from Waukee, Iowa, tossed a seven-inning complete game, allowing only one run. He scattered six hits to earn the win and lower his ERA to 3.56.
Irvine struck out five, issued zero walks, and stranded eight Scarlet Knights on base. With Iowa leading 2-0 in the fourth inning thanks to a first-inning sacrifice fly by redshirt junior Dylan Nedved and a third-inning RBI single by redshirt freshman Peyton Williams, Irvine faced one of his biggest jams.
The first two Scarlet Knights reached base to start the bottom of the fourth on Hawkeye errors, but Irvine induced a 5-4-3 double play followed by a strikeout of Evan Sleight to finish the fourth unscathed.
Leading off the top of the sixth, redshirt junior Izaya Fullard stroked a solo home run – his first of the season – to tack on another Iowa run, making it 3-0. Fullard scored two of Iowa’s three runs and was the only Hawkeye to record two hits in the contest.
Rutgers’ three-hole man Ryan Lasko matched Fullard’s solo homer with one of his own in the bottom of the sixth to give the Scarlet Knights life.
In the bottom of the seventh with two outs and runners on first and second, Lasko stepped into the box as the potential game-winning run. Irvine, however, buckled down and forced Lasko into a fielder’s choice to end the game.
Game 2 | Iowa 6, Rutgers 1
The stellar pitching continued in game two with Baumann matching a career-high, going seven innings, scattering three hits, and allowing one run. The southpaw is 3-1 with a 1.15 ERA over his last six appearances, including five starts.
Baumann retired the first eight batters he faced before surrendering a walk and single in the third. He then sat down the next nine Scarlet Knight batters, before issuing his second walk in the sixth and back-to-back singles in the seventh.
The Hawkeyes jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the fifth when Austin Martin reached on a throwing error to start the inning and he eventually scored on a Norman RBI ground out. Rutgers tied the game in the seventh on Kevin Welsh’s sacrifice fly in the seventh.
Iowa finally broke through against the Rutgers arms in the eighth with a two-out rally. Matthew Sosa had a bunt single to jump-start the rally before Trenton Wallace and Martin drew back-to-back four pitch walks to load the bases.
A third straight walk – this one from Brendan Sher – gave Iowa the 2-1 lead. Norman drove in two runs with a single to center field and a third run scored on the play on two Rutgers errors. Fullard doubled in the fifth run, pushing the Hawkeye lead to 6-1.
Iowa’s bats kept going in the ninth, pushing two more runs across the plate. Nedved singled and Sosa was hit by a pitch and they both scored on a two-run double from Martin, making the score 8-1.
Iowa finished with 11 hits in the game with Fullard finishing 3-for-5 with a double and RBI. His batting average rose to .286. Norman and Wallace also had two-hit days with Norman driving in three runs for his sixth multi-RBI game of the season.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“Drew set the tone and gave us a tremendous start. What made it extra special for me was we were sloppy defensively in a tight game, on the road, and he didn’t let it affect him. He found the way to get the next out and got the job done and didn’t let it turn into a big inning, which was happening when anything like that happened the first 10-12 games.
“It was a big sign of maturity on his part and the team’s part. We did just enough offensively, caught a few breaks and got an early lead, which was important. We didn’t give them any free bases.
“In game two, Cam was tremendous. He went seven innings, and we were going to run him back out, but we had the long inning where we scored with two outs. He only gave up three hits and five bases runners and Ben Probst and Grant Leonard were awesome in the eighth and ninth.
“They kept at it offensively and Sosa gets a bunt hit and we turned it into a big rally. I couldn’t be prouder of our team. It was a tough effort, on the road in a doubleheader after a long hard-fought game Friday.”
– This is Iowa’s first series win in Piscataway (it was the team’s second trip to New Jersey since Rutgers joined the Big Ten).
– Irvine has only allowed two runs total in his last two starts after allowing 13 in his first four.
– Baumann hasn’t allowed more than one earned run in his last six appearances, which includes five starts. He gave up six earned runs in his first start of the season against Michigan.
– Iowa’s pitching staff has allowed one earned run or fewer in five of the last six games.
– The Hawkeyes outscored Rutgers, 7-0, in the eighth and ninth innings in game two. Iowa is out-scoring opponents, 41-12, in the final two innings this season.
– Iowa has had 11 or more hits in four of the last five games.
– Peyton Williams (15), Ben Norman (12), and Matthew Sosa (10) extended their reached base streaks into double digits.
Iowa wraps up the four-game series against Rutgers tomorrow at 10:30 a.m. (CT).