IOWA CITY, Iowa — The University of Iowa baseball team (18-12, 5-4) split Saturday’s doubleheader at Duane Banks Field with Rutgers (9-19, 2-4) to win its second straight Big Ten series. Iowa won the first game, 9-5, but dropped game two, 15-3.
The loss in the nightcap snapped Iowa’s five-game conference winning streak.
Game 1 | Iowa 9, Rutgers 5
The Hawkeyes pounded out 12 hits — six for extra bases – to win game one, 9-5. Rutgers matched Iowa with 12 hits, but the Scarlet Knights left nine runners on base.
Iowa’s four-run sixth inning extended Iowa’s early lead to 7-1. The Hawkeye sixth that featured four hits, a walk, and a hit-by pitch was station to station. Ben Norman, Zeb Adreon, Matthew Sosa, and Mitchell Boe all drove in runs during the frame.
Rutgers answered with a four-run seventh inning to cut the deficit to two through seven.
Adreon, a junior first baseman, capped off his career day and put the game away with two insurance runs in the bottom of the seventh on a two-out, two-RBI double to put Iowa on top 9-5. The Pleasantville, Iowa, native finished the day going 3-for-3 with a walk, two doubles, and a career-high four RBIs.
Sophomore Cam Baumann (2-2) was the winning pitcher after going 6 1/3 innings, allowing three runs on eight hits and one walk. The left-hander bounced back from a shaky first inning where he gave up three hits.
Baumann couldn’t complete the seventh and was relieved by senior Jason Foster, who faced three batters without retiring an out.
Redshirt junior Grant Leonard entered in the seventh with the bases loaded and only one out, allowing one inherited runner to score. Leonard pitched the final 2 2/3 innings to earn his seventh save of the season.
Iowa scored one run in three of the first four innings, including a solo home run by senior Tanner Wetrich in the second. It was Wetrich’s third home run of the season.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“The first game could have went either way. We broke it open. Zeb (Adreon) had a good game, (Matthew) Sosa had a good game — a lot of guys had a good game in game one.”
Game 2 | Rutgers 15, Iowa 3
Junior Grant Judkins (3-3) allowed five unearned runs in the first inning and Iowa was never able to recover, falling 15-3 in the nightcap of the doubleheader.
The Scarlet Knights had 15 hits with two home runs, while Iowa had seven hits, committed four errors, and left 11 runners on base.
Judkins gave up seven hits and battled through five innings before being relieved by Duncan Davitt in the sixth inning. Four other Hawkeye pitchers — Kyle Shimp, Drew Irvine, Clayton Nettleton, and Shane Ritter — saw relief innings.
In the sixth inning, junior Ben Norman came around to score on an RBI-ground out by Connor McCaffery, which cut Iowa’s defect to five, trailing 7-2. Iowa forced three pitching changes in the sixth, but could never spark much of a comeback.
Rutgers scored eight runs in the final three innings, including five in the eighth to put the game completely out of reach.
Offensively, Wetrich and Sosa each registered multi-hit games from the bottom of the order.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It’s always disappointing when you split a doubleheader and lose the back end, especially when you lose it the way we did. Tip your hat to Rutgers. They bounced back and swung the bats well. They wanted it and played hard.
“We challenged the team to go out and play even harder than game one. We didn’t get a great start out of Grant (Judkins). We were just down too much. We’d fight here and there, stranded a lot of runners and didn’t get the big hit, which had a lot do to with the quality of pitching that Rutgers threw at us.”
- A season-high 1,701 fans were in attendance for Saturday’s doubleheader.
- Wetrich finished the doubleheader 3-for-7 with three runs scored, a home run, and an RBI.
- Leonard has not allowed a run since taking the loss against Indiana on March 22. Leonard’s scoreless innings streak is up to seven innings and his ERA sits at 1.69.
- Baumann has gone six or more innings in his last two starts, earning the win in both.
Iowa resumes play with a midweek game at Bradley on April 10 at 7 p.m. (CT). The Hawkeyes won their first matchup against the Braves, 4-2, earlier this season at home.