IOWA CITY, Iowa – – The University of Iowa baseball team dropped a 7-2 decision to Michigan State Friday night at Duane Banks Field. |IOWA CITY, Iowa – – The University of Iowa baseball team dropped a 7-2 decision to Michigan State Friday night at Duane Banks Field. After leading 2-0, the Spartans rallied to score seven unanswered runs and capture the Big Ten Conference opener.
“We had momentum on our side when we scored two early runs,” said Iowa Head Coach Jack Dahm. “We were having some good at-bats but we left some guys on base in those first few innings. We had plenty of opportunities to add runs all night. We got a little bit over anxious. Our guys have to keep their heads up. We have to clean up a few things. We need to do better defensively and find some timely hits.”
Two Hawkeyes, Zach McCool (2-for-4) and Phil Keppler (2-for-5), recorded multi-hit games. McCool now has four multi-hit games on the year.
With no score in the bottom of the third, the Hawkeyes pushed across two runs. McCool led off the frame with a double to right center. Tyson Blaser laid down a sacrifice bunt and Michigan State threw it wide of first base, scoring McCool and allowing Blaser to advance to second. With one away, senior Kurt Lee singled to right center driving in fellow senior Blaser from second.
Trailing 2-0, Michigan State (16-6, 1-0) responded with five runs of its own in the top of the fourth. The Spartans took advantage of two Iowa errors and recorded four hits to take a 5-2 lead.
Michigan State added its sixth and seventh runs in the fifth and ninth innings, respectively, via the sacrifice fly.
The Hawkeyes tried to mount a comeback in the sixth and seventh, but left the bases loaded both innings. With bags filled with Hawkeyes and two away in the sixth, Lee launched a shot to deep right, but it was caught, ending the Iowa rally. The Hawkeyes again loaded the bases again in the seventh with two outs, but were unable to push a run across home plate. Iowa stranded 15 base runners, 11 of which were in scoring position.
Jarred Hippen took the loss for Iowa. The junior pitched seven innings, allowing six runs (three earned) on six hits. He struck out five Spartans.
Kurt Wunderlich pitched five and two-thirds earning his fifth win of the season for the Spartans. He surrendered two runs on eight hits.
Iowa (9-14, 0-1) and Michigan State will play Saturday in game two of their three-game set. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m. at Duane Banks Field. Starter Nick Brown will try to even up the series for the Hawkeyes. The junior is 3-1 this season. Admission is $3 for adults and is free for UI students and youths.
Michigan State (16-6) 000 510 001 — 7 8 2
Iowa (9-14) 002 000 000 — 2 8 2
WP ñ Wunderlich (5-1)
LP ñ Hippen (1-3)
SV ñ Wieber (3)