Iowa baseball drops three of four in season-opening series against Michigan

The Hawkeyes were outscored, 25-14, over the four contests.


Shivansh Ahuja

Iowa outfielder Trenton Wallace swings while at-bat during the second game of a baseball doubleheader between Iowa and Cal-State Northridge at Duane Banks Field on Sunday, March 17, 2019.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

Iowa had a chance to surprise the college baseball world during the weekend of the Big Ten season as the unranked Hawkeyes battled No. 21 Michigan — the Big Ten title favorites — in a four-game set in Round Rock, Texas.

But the Wolverines proved their top-25 prowess, taking three of four games to begin the season.

On Friday night, in the season-opener, junior Trenton Wallace took the mound replacing the Hawkeyes injured ace Jack Dryer. In his first start since 2019, Wallace threw five innings of three-hit, two-run baseball. The Rock Island, Illinois, native struck out a career-high eight batters.

Iowa head coach Rick Heller was impressed with the movement on Wallace’s pitches, but his lack of accuracy caused a high pitch-count and forced Heller to take him out earlier than he wanted to.

“Trenton had great stuff tonight,” Heller said in a release. “But unfortunately, he wasn’t very efficient, and his pitch-count got high. [Michigan’s starter Stephen] Hajjar had equally as good of stuff, but he was much more efficient and didn’t give us any free [runs.]

Because of his efficiency and subsequent lower pitch-count, Hajjar threw just under 7 innings. Like Wallace, the Michigan hurler gave up two runs.

Tied at two apiece after seven innings, Wolverine reliever Willie Weiss shut down the Iowa bats, while Iowa’s Ben Beutel and Trace Hoffman each allowed a run in relief of Wallace. Beutel took the loss.

On the second day of the series, the two teams split the first double-header of 2021.

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The Hawkeyes picked up their lone victory of the series in the first game, using a five-run fifth inning to propel them to an 8-3 win.

After Iowa surrendered three runs in the fourth to fall behind 3-2, a single and two walks loaded the bases for the Hawkeyes with one out.

On one of the rare occasions when Iowa senior Matthew Sosa didn’t get a hit (he went 6-for-12 in the series with at least one base-hit in each of the four games), Sosa was hit by a pitch to force in the first Iowa run of the inning.

Then, in a pinch-hit appearance, redshirt freshman Brayden Frazier doubled to center field, driving in two more runs. After a strikeout, Iowa’s Brendan Sher hit a groundball to third, but a wild throw allowed both Sosa and Frazier to cross the plate.

Iowa tacked on one more insurance run in the sixth and held Michigan scoreless for the rest of the game.

The Wolverines rebounded in the final two games of the series. Outscoring the Hawkeyes 18-4, Michigan collected victories of 7-0 and 11-4 to close out the set.

The Hawkeyes gave up a five-run second inning in game three and six runs in the fifth inning of game four. Iowa only managed nine hits over the final two contests.

Iowa will return to action Friday, facing Ohio State at 11 a.m. at U.S. Bank Stadium in Minneapolis.

Iowa won two of its three games against the Buckeyes in their 2019 series in Columbus.