COLUMBUS, Ohio — Behind senior Cole McDonald’seight-inning, eight-strikeout performance, the University of Iowa baseball team won the series opener, 4-2, over Ohio State on Friday night at Bill Davis Stadium.
Ohio State (23-19, 6-7) out-hit Iowa (25-15, 10-6) 7-6, but two of the Hawkeyes’ hits were home runs. Freshman Brendan Sher and junior Zeb Adreon hit their first career home runs to power Iowa to its 10th Big Ten win of the season.
McDonald, who had four strikeouts in the first two innings, earned his fourth win of the season and posted his fourth straight quality start in the Big Ten. The New Hampton, Iowa, native worked around a single and a walk in the fourth inning to strand two Buckeyes before retiring nine straight batters into the seventh inning.
The right-hander surrendered his first run of the game in the eighth inning and trotted out for the ninth before allowing a leadoff double and handing the ball over to closer Grant Leonard.
McDonald’s final line consisted of two runs allowed on six hits over eight innings with eight strikeouts to only one walk. His ERA dropped to a season-best 3.66.
Leonard surrendered one hit, allowing one inherited runner to score, but retired the next three to earn his 10th save of the season.
Iowa’s offense was quiet early, but the bottom of the order, starting with Sher, picked up the slack. The Indianola, Iowa, native hit a solo shot to right center field on a 2-0 count to break the scoreless tie.
In the fifth, Iowa went ahead 2-0 on a sacrifice fly off the bat of senior Chris Whelan, scoring Adreon who doubled to leadoff the fifth.
Adreon, a Pleasantville, Iowa, native, continued his big day with a two-run home run in the top of the ninth, giving Iowa a 4-1 lead.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It was a great win for us. It was a big Friday night for Cole McDonald; he went out and gave us eight innings and was dominant most of the night. I am pleased with Cole’s performance.
“We scrapped offensively. Garrett (Burhenn) was really good, especially early. He punched out the first five guys he faced. We finally got stuff going when we got him into the stretch. It was a gutty effort by our guys. We played great defense all night, I was happy with the effort.”
- It is the fourth straight game Iowa has hit a home run — the longest streak of the season.
- Iowa’s bottom of the order had five of Iowa’s six hits.
- Leonard’s 10 saves are tied for the second most in a single season at Iowa, while his 12 career saves move him into a tie for seventh.
- Whelan’s single in the top of the eighth extended his on-base streak to 20 games.
Saturday’s game two will start at 2:05 p.m. (CT) from Bill Davis Stadium. Sophomore Cam Baumann (3-2, 5.11 ERA) will start for the Hawkeyes.