LAS VEGAS — The University of Iowa baseball team fell 13-3 to 23rd-ranked UNLV in the series finale on Sunday afternoon at Earl E. Wilson Stadium. The Rebels won all three games to complete the three-game weekend sweep.
The Rebels’ offense finished with 13 runs on 16 hits on the afternoon and UNLV connected on three home runs. Iowa reliever Zach Daniels (1-1) suffered the loss, allowing five runs (two earned) on four his in 1 1/3 innings.
UNLV jumped out to a 1-0 lead in the first courtesy of a solo home run from center fielder Kyle Isbel before the Hawkeyes scored single runs in the second and third to take a 2-1 advantage.
Freshman Kace Massner, who was making his first career start, tied the game in the second with an RBI single to knock in Lorenzo Elion and senior Tyler Cropley put the Hawkeyes up with an RBI single in the third.
After the Rebels regained the lead with a two-run blast from Bryson Stott to go up 3-2 in the bottom of the third, Iowa tied the game at three via a Robert Neustrom RBI single before UNLV took over.
The Rebels scored 10 runs over the final three innings with five coming in the sixth, three in the seventh, and two in the eighth to send the team to its 15th victory of the season.
Iowa starter Cole McDonald went 4 1/3 innings in the start, allowing three runs on six hits. UNLV’s Donovan McCrystal earned the win, pitching 1 1/3 innings of perfect relief.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“I like the way we started out this game, our energy and focus was good. We were sitting tied, 3-3, going into the sixth and Cole McDonald gave us a good start. We played a very good team that’s playing really well right now, especially on the offensive side. Today was a step in the right direction even though it doesn’t look like it on the scoreboard. We’ll go back to work and keep improving.”
– Freshman Kace Massner finished 1-for-4 with an RBI in his first career start. He was the fifth different Hawkeye to start in left field this season.
– UNLV out-hit the Hawkeyes, 16-9.
– Matt Hoeg (2-for-4), Robert Neustrom (2-for-4, R, RBI), and Mitchell Boe (2-for-3, R) all had multi-hit games. It was Neustrom’s team-leading fifth multi-hit game of the season.
– Iowa used seven different pitchers in the game.
The Hawkeyes (8-5) return to action Wednesday, facing Missouri State in a neutral site game in Kansas City, Missouri. First pitch is scheduled for 4:05 p.m. (CT).