PISCATAWAY, N. J. – Redshirt sophomore Adam Mazur’s 11 strikeout gem propelled the University of Iowa baseball team to a 4-1 victory over No. 8 Rutgers on Friday afternoon at Bainton Field.
The win is the Hawkeyes’ sixth straight and it is the program’s first victory over a top 10 ranked foe since 2018 (No. 7 Michigan). Iowa now sits at 7-3 in the Big Ten, 22-12 overall.
Mazur was dynamic for a second straight start, allowing one run on six hits over eight innings – tying a career-long appearance for a second straight week — en route to his fourth win.
The right-hander had 11 strikeouts for a second consecutive start and didn’t walk a batter for the second time in as many games.
“Getting ahead and mixing and matching pitches was key,” said Mazur, who has 22 strikeouts to zero walks over his last 16 innings. “My curveball felt great today, which I hadn’t used too much this year. It was nice to get that and the slider felt good.
“Everything was clicking and having good defense behind me helped. After the second inning when we scored one and I wasn’t able to get the shutdown inning we needed, it lit a fire underneath me that I needed to keep going and push through.”
Mazur held down a Rutgers offense that entered the game with a Big Ten-best .322 average, while averaging 9.2 runs per game. The Scarlet Knights’ one run output is its second lowest of the season (lowest since March 18).
The Hawkeyes grabbed the 1-0 lead in the second on a solo home run to left field from redshirt junior Brendan Sher in his first start in two weeks.
The Scarlet Knights tied the game in the bottom half with a two-out rally on back-to-back extra base hits – a Mike Nyisztor double and a Garrett Callaghan triple.
Iowa regained the lead in the fourth. Redshirt senior Izaya Fullard doubled down the left field line to start the inning, moved to third on a Ben Tallman fly out and scored on Sam Petersen’s sacrifice fly to centerfield, making the score 2-1.
Fullard then provided the Hawkeyes with two big insurance runs in the eighth. After redshirt sophomore Will Mulflur reached on a throwing error to start the inning, Fullard connected on a two-run homer – his first of the season — to left field, pushing the Iowa lead to 4-2.
Iowa handed Rutgers’ starter Jared Kollar (6-1) his first loss, scoring two runs on four hits over 4 1/3 innings.
“We did a tremendous job grinding out at-bats and getting Kollar’s pitch count up,” said head coach Rick Heller. “He was to 100 at the start of the fifth inning. We had a lot of traffic throughout the game and didn’t do as much as you would like.
“We stuck to our plan but didn’t get as many clutch hits as we would like, but the at-bats were awesome all day, battling, grinding, and working pitch counts. I couldn’t be happier about that, played great defense and didn’t have a free base on the day. You can’t beat that; it doesn’t happen very often.”
QUOTING HEAD COACH HELLER
“Adam set the tone for us. They got some decent swings in the first two innings, but after that, those were limited the rest of the game. He pounded the zone. It’s hard not to play well behind a guy that goes out and was efficient as Adam was today and as dominant as he was today. I cannot say enough about him setting the tone in the series.”
– Iowa won the game despite being out hit, 6-5. The Hawkeyes are now 3-3 in such games.
– Sher has now homered in two of his last three starts.
– Fullard had two extra-base hits for the first time this season, finishing 2-for-4 with a double, home run, two RBIs and two runs scored. The North Liberty, Iowa, native has eight multi-hit games since returning to the lineup April 2.
– Mazur is 2-0 with a 1.12 ERA, allowing four runs (two earned) on 12 hits over his last two starts.
– Nedved got the final three outs – needing just eight pitches – to tally his third save of the season and 12th of his career. He moves into a tie for eighth place with Mike Schurz (2007-09) in school history.
The Hawkeyes will face Rutgers in game two of the series Saturday at noon (CT).