Free Bases Doom Iowa in Game 2

IOWA CITY, Iowa – The University of Iowa baseball team (22-15) mustered only three hits in a 14-1 loss to Illinois (17-19) on Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field.

“We have a rule, when the sun comes up, it’s over,” said head coach Rick Heller. “It hurts a little bit until the sun comes up, but we’ll regroup and hopefully play well on Senior Day.”

The Hawkeyes fell behind 7-0 after the Illini scored six runs on four hits, three walks, and a hit-by-pitch in the bottom the third. Iowa scored its only run of the game in the bottom of the sixth on a sacrifice fly by Dylan Nedved that scored Izaya Fullard.

Leading 7-1 through six innings, Illinois tacked on five runs on two hits and four free passes in the top of the seventh to make it a 12-1 game. Iowa used four different relievers in the inning and eight pitchers in the game.

“We’re going to wipe it away and treat tomorrow as a new day,” said senior Austin Martin. “This isn’t going to define the rest of our season, I can promise you that. We’ll come back tomorrow as the Iowa team you’ve seen all year.”

Redshirt sophomore Duncan Davitt (4-2) suffered the loss and was charged with seven earned runs on four hits and three walks over two and 2/3 innings.

Iowa’s offense was quieted by Nathan Lavender, who struck out a career-high 13 batters over six innings of work. The Hawkeyes only had baserunners in scoring position in the left-hander’s final inning of work.

The Illinois bullpen retired all nine Hawkeye batters it faced in the final three innings.

Redshirt freshman Brayden Frazier had two of Iowa’s three hits out of the cleanup spot.

“It was a tough day for us all the way around. It didn’t seem like anything was going our way. We thought the ball that was fair was foul and stuff like that. It happened today and we acknowledge the fact that we weren’t very good and they were. We had way too many free bases and punched out a ton. It is just one, but we have to learn from it and be ready to go tomorrow.”

• Iowa pitchers combined to walk a season-high 13 batters and Iowa hitters punched out a season-high 16 times.
• Freshman Will Semb pitched three innings of scoreless relief.
• Redshirt senior Ben Norman extended his on-base streak to 25 games with a hit-by-pitch and redshirt junior Izaya Fullard extended his on-base streak to 20 games with two walks.
• Redshirt sophomore Jack Radford made his Hawkeye debut in the ninth inning.

Iowa will be looking for its seventh series win in its last eight weekends in tomorrow’s series finale. First pitch is set for 1:05 p.m. (CT). Fourteen seniors and 10 student-managers will be honored in a pregame Senior Day ceremony.