Big sixth inning lifts Iowa baseball in home-opener

After being shutout for five innings, the Hawkeyes put three on the board in the sixth inning to defeat the visiting Nebraska Cornhuskers.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa Second Basemen Brendan Sher rounds the bases after hitting a solo home run during a baseball game between Iowa and Nebraska at Duane Banks Field on March 19, 2021. The Hawkeyes defeated the Cornhuskers 3-0.

Chris Werner, Sports Reporter

As Iowa sophomore second baseman Brendan Sher stepped into the batter’s box to lead off the home half of the sixth inning Friday against Nebraska at Duane Banks Field, his smiling face stared in from the left-field video board behind the outfield fence.

Sher hit his picture with the first offering from Nebraska pitcher Cade Povich.

After the Cornhusker starter had been clean for the first five innings, allowing just two hits and no walks, the Hawkeyes’ nine-hole hitter sent the Povich offering sailing over the 375 sign on the left-center field wall and the ball clattered off the scoreboard to put Iowa up 1-0.

The go-ahead run marked Sher’s second four-bagger in a Hawkeye uniform.

That turned out to be the only offense the Hawkeyes needed as Trenton Wallace and Trace Hoffman combined to turn in a three-hit shutout. But Iowa added two more runs on a two-run homer from Ben Norman two batters later Brayden Frazier roped a double into left field in the pinch-hitter’s only plate appearance of the day.

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“You go into Friday nights thinking that most all of them could be [low scoring games],” Iowa head coach Rick Heller said. “You just needed something to happen, somebody to break through. We’ve been scuffling a little bit with the bats, felt like we were coming out of it and had a really good week of practice. Cade Povich was really good as well for Nebraska, super location, great change up. You just needed something to happen.

“Brendan Sher stepped up big for us, hit the home run… Brayden Frazier, he doesn’t get the start tonight, doesn’t pout, doesn’t complain, just steps in and gets a hit, and scores on Ben Norman’s two-run homer. That’s generally the way it is when you have two really good pitchers on the mound.”

Norman’s long ball — his second of the year — came on the second pitch of the at-bat after the senior took a pitch he shouldn’t have.

“I took the first pitch that was a curveball, a pitch I probably should’ve swung at,” Norman said. “So the second one, in my head I was thinking ‘I can’t miss this next one if it’s there.’ He threw it to me, and I got it pretty well. I wasn’t sure if it was gone off the bat, so I was still booking it out of the box but luckily it went over the fence and we got two runs out of it.”

For Iowa, right fielder Zeb Adreon collected two hits on the day and first baseman Izaya Fullard added another knock to bring the total to six Hawkeye hits Friday.

The Hawkeyes have the opportunity to keep the bats hot as these two teams will matchup again in game two of the three-game weekend set tomorrow at 2:05 p.m.

Chance Hroch is slated to take the mound for Nebraska Saturday, and he shutout the Hawkeyes in six innings of work when the Hawkeyes and Cornhuskers played in Minneapolis last weekend. Iowa lost that contest, 4-0.

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