Hawkeyes Drop Back and Forth Affair with #14 Virginia

JACKSONVILLE, Florida – The 18th ranked University of Iowa baseball team fell to No. 14 Virginia, 12-9, on Saturday night at 121 Financial Park.

“After a great start offensively, we struggled on the mound and let Virginia back in the game,” said head coach Rick Heller. “The way that lead evaporated was painful. I’m proud of how our guys fought. We were locked in and ready to play tonight. We just gave them too many free bases and Virginia made us pay.”

The Hawkeyes raced out to a 6-0 lead before the Cavaliers cut into the deficit with a two run third. The Hawkeyes got a run back in the bottom half, but a five run fourth for Virginia erased the deficit.

Iowa responded with a run in the bottom half and held the lead till Virginia tied it in the seventh. The teams traded runs in the eighth and entered the ninth tied before the Cavaliers scored three to put the game out of reach.

Marcus Morgan got the start on the hill for Iowa, throwing three innings allowing four earned runs while walking five and striking out four.

Anthony Watts struck out nine in 4 1/3 innings of relief. He allowed five runs (four earned) and walked three. Zach Voelker threw 2/3 of an inning allowing one run. Brant Hogue finished out the game allowing two runs, striking out one and walking one in an inning of work.

“A good hitting team like Virginia is going to get their hits,” said Heller. “For us to win, those hits can’t come after we walk two batters. Tonight seven runs scored that were on base via the walk or hit by pitch. Anthony Watts pitched well after a rough start. He went 4 1/3 innings once he got settled in. That was big after having to go to the pen early. We’ve shown flashes of being a really good ball club. One day it’s excellent pitching and no offense. The next, it’s great offense and sloppy pitching. Until we start playing consistent baseball this is what the result will be, especially against great teams like Auburn and Virginia.”

Five Hawkeyes had multi-hit performances in the contest. Ben Wilmes led the way with a 3-for-5 night. Wilmes tallied an RBI and had a single, a double and a triple in the contest.

Michael Seegers, Sam Petersen, Raider Tello, and Davis Cop each recorded two hits for Iowa. Tello plated two RBIs and Kyle Huckstorf had a three-run home run.

“We had a good night on offense with the five guys having multi-hit nights, said Heller. “Four doubles, two triples and a home run as a team. Ben Wilmes broke out with three hits. Kyle Huckstorf had the three run homer and Raider Tello had two hits and two RBIs. It’s a quick turnaround Sunday vs. a good Wichita State team. We will need a great team effort tomorrow.”


Iowa (3-3) concludes action at the JAX College Baseball Classic tomorrow against Wichita State at 11 a.m. (CT).