OMAHA, Neb. — Two Ohio State pitchers combined on a four-hit shutout in a 2-0 victory over the University of Iowa baseball team, eliminating the Hawkeyes from the 2018 Big Ten Tournament on Thursday morning at TD Ameritrade Park.
Iowa finishes the 2018 season with a 33-20 overall record.
“I think all of us realize we needed to win a couple of games (at the Big Ten Tournament), based on where our RPI sits (to get into NCAA Tournament),” said Iowa head coach Rick Heller. “I thought up until that point, we had done a lot. We had 10 wins against top 50 teams.
“Even though we faded at the end, you don’t get any points for close losses or playing well and losing. Unfortunately, that’s kind of what we did.”
Ohio State grabbed the early lead, plating a first-inning run against Iowa starter Cole McDonald. The Buckeyes took the lead on a Tyler Cowles RBI double into the left center field gap.
The Buckeyes manufactured an insurance run in the fifth when Dominic Canzone singled before pinch runner Matt Carpenter stole second and moved to third on a Tyler Cropley throwing error. He scored on an RBI single by Kobie Foppe.
The Hawkeyes had base runners in the first five innings, but Iowa’s best scoring opportunity came in the seventh.
Iowa got its first two runners on via a Kyle Crowl walk and a fielding error on a Justin Jenkins sacrifice bunt against Buckeye starter Ryan Feltner. After reliever Seth Kinker struck out pinch hitter Trenton Wallace, he got Mitchell Boe to hit into an inning-ending 6-3 double play.
The Hawkeyes got a leadoff single in the eighth from Chris Whelan, but Iowa’s final five hitters were retired in order.
Iowa finished with four hits in the game and just five hits in 19 innings in two Big Ten Tournament games.
McDonald (3-2) suffered the loss, allowing two runs (one earned) on seven hits over 4 1/3 innings. Relievers Nick Nelsen, Grant Judkins, and Grant Leonard tossed 4 2/3 innings of three-hit relief.
Feltner tossed six innings of three-hit ball, fanning six to notch his fifth win, while Kinker got the final nine outs to record his 14th save.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“It was another tough loss and low scoring game. We didn’t swing it too much for the second day in a row. Cole (McDonald) went out and gave us a quality start, but I think he’ll tell you he didn’t have his good stuff. Our pitching in the tournament was outstanding. It had everything we needed. If you would have told me we were going to hold them to two today, I would have told you we would be talking about a win.
“Our offensive woes continued. With our offense, if our top three or four guys aren’t hitting, at least one of them, it makes it difficult for us to score. We haven’t really had a spell this season where that happened. We were fortunate all year, where if one guy wasn’t hitting, somebody else was. (Tyler) Cropley had been hot pretty much all year long until he hurt his thumb. When Robert (Neustrom), Chris (Whelan), or Matt (Hoeg) aren’t going well, it makes it difficult to score runs. That was the case today.”