IOWA CITY, Iowa – Three Hawkeyes hit balls to the warning track in the ninth inning, but northern winds made them long outs as the University of Iowa baseball team’s rally fell short in an 8-6 loss to Maryland on Saturday afternoon in front of a near sellout crowd of 1,112 in attendance.
Iowa trailed 8-5 heading into the ninth before back-to-back walks from Brendan Sher and Ben Norman brought the tying run to the plate. Redshirt junior Izaya Fullard got all of his 1-1 pitch from Sam Bello, but the wind knocked it down, allowing Matthew Shaw to track it down in left center.
Redshirt freshman Peyton Williams followed with a jam shot that carried down the line in right for the second out, allowing Sher to cut the deficit to 8-6 via the sacrifice fly. Redshirt senior Austin Martin followed with a rocket to dead center that Chris Alleyne caught for the final out to close out the 8-6 win.
“I love the fight,” said head coach Rick Heller. “We never gave up. We kept coming after them. Most days we hit two home runs in the ninth inning and we’re all celebrating. The ball Fullard hit was as hard as he could hit it — usually that’s across the road.
“The ball Martin hit — same story — usually that’s over the batter’s eye most days. It was bad luck for us.”
The Hawkeyes fell behind following a shaky start from redshirt sophomore Drew Irvine. The right-hander walked the first two batters of the game before Brandon Cowles, the Big Ten home run leader, hit the first pitch he saw for a three-run home run to give the Terps a 3-0 lead.
Maryland starter Nick Dean scattered six hits over the first five shutout innings, keeping the Hawkeyes off-balance by changing speeds. Iowa got to Dean in the fifth, scoring two runs on a Dylan Nedved double and Nedved scored when Matthew Sosa reached on an error, making the score 4-3.
The Terps answered in the seventh with four runs on three hits against Ben Beutel and Ben Probst to take a 8-3 lead. Nedved and Sosa were in the middle of Iowa’s eighth inning rally, as both players had RBI singles to cut the deficit to 8-5.
“We showed we’ll always have that fight all nine innings,” said Williams. “We can’t let them get up early and feel confident. We need to be the ones leading early and keeping the foot on the pedal.”
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“The big thing today was when we scored three runs in the sixth, I felt like we were going to come back and win the game. Unfortunately, we went out and didn’t have a shutdown inning.
“We gave up four in the seventh. That was big. After we overcame the rough start on the mound, we didn’t do much with Dean. He did a nice job today. We’d get a hit there and a hit here, but couldn’t get the hit to score the run.”
– Iowa out-hit Maryland, 12-9. It was the Hawkeyes’ first time losing when outhitting the opposition this season.
– The Hawkeyes took the series over the Terps, 3-1.
– Norman swiped his eighth bag of the season; he is 8-for-8 in steal attempts.
– Four Hawkeye had multi-hit games in the contest – Fullard, Zeb Adreon, Nedved and Sosa. Nedved drove in three runs.
The Hawkeyes return to action Sunday, hosting Northwestern at 4:02 p.m. (CT). The game will be televised on BTN.