IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team dropped Sunday’s series finale 15-4 to No. 18 UC Irvine at Duane Banks Field. The Hawkeyes won two of three games during the weekend series.
“The biggest thing is to not forget what we did here and what we’ve done the last six weeks, and that’s rally off big series wins,” said senior Chris Whelan, who scored a run and went 1-for-4.
Iowa falls to 29-17 but moved into third place of the Big Ten standings, jumping Nebraska with an 11-7 record.
Trailing 3-1 through four innings, the game went awry for the Hawkeyes in the fifth inning after allowing nine runs on six hits. Freshman Duncan Davitt relieved starter Grant Judkins (4-6) in the fifth, who allowed three runs (two earned) on six hits and two walks in four innings — his shortest outing of the year.
The Anteaters jumped on Davitt, who didn’t record an out and was charged with four earned runs on three hits. Senior Shane Ritter relieved Davitt, but served up a three-run home run and was pulled after hitting the next batter.
Junior Trace Hoffman completed the fifth, while Jason Foster, Adam Ketelsen, Drew Irvine, and Trenton Wallace also saw action out of the bullpen. Ketelsen, who didn’t allow a batter to reach in 1 1/3 innings of relief, was the only Hawkeye reliever to toss a clean inning.
The Hawkeyes scored in the bottom of the first on a double by Ben Norman down the first base line, scoring Whelan from second. It was the first run UC Irvine pitcher Taylor Rashi had allowed in 31 innings.
Iowa’s next run of the day came on a sacrifice fly from Izaya Fullard with the bases loaded in the seventh inning. In the eighth, Iowa added two runs on three straight two-out hits to score two runs.
Freshman Brendan Sher went 3-for-4 to register his third three-hit game in the last eight contests. Redshirt freshman Connor McCaffery also added three hits off the bench for his second career three-hit game.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It’s a good weekend and they’re a good team. We knew that they’d be dialed in today. We just weren’t very good on the mound. It was as simple as that. We were getting some good at-bats off a good pitcher. We had some bad luck — some line drives that were caught — and they had a nice day. Things fell for them and found some holes.
“The big difference was they had eight extra-base hits with three home runs. We weren’t getting the extra-base hits and were hitting a lot of singles.
“The fifth inning was a nightmare. Even in that inning – we had two calls that could have went either way. We didn’t get the breaks today.”
- Iowa has had a chance to sweep a series for three consecutive Sundays.
- The Hawkeyes are 9-3 in games against top-30 opponents following the series win.
- Iowa had only one extra base hit — Ben Norman’s double in the first inning — to UC Irvine’s eight extra-base knocks, including three home runs.
The Hawkeyes, who are don’t have a midweek game because of finals week, resume Big Ten play May 10-12, hosting Michigan State in the final home series of the season.