Comeback effort falls short as Nebraska takes game two over Iowa baseball

The two teams combined for six home runs as Nebraska topped Iowa, 10-8.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa Center Fielder Ben Norman makes an over-the-shoulder catch to make the last out 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

Down 7-0 after Nebraska put seven runs on the board in its half of the third inning Saturday afternoon at Duane Banks Field, it would have been easy for the Iowa baseball team to accept defeat.

The Cornhuskers had just crushed three home runs including a grand-slam and Nebraska starting pitcher Chance Hroch — who was on the mound when the Hawkeyes were blanked 4-0 by the Cornhuskers earlier this season in Minneapolis — was cruising through three innings as no Iowa runner had reached second base.

But instead, the Hawkeyes fought back with smart at-bats, forcing Hroch to elevate his pitches, a scary proposition on the windy day in Iowa City.

“It was just making him get the ball up, not chasing [low pitches],” head coach Rick Heller said. “Just being disciplined enough to do that, and that’s not easy to do.”

The Hawkeye bats got to Hroch, first with one run in the fourth, courtesy of a solo shot from senior right fielder Zeb Adreon, and after another Cornhusker tally, did a lot more damage in the fifth.

Leading off the frame, redshirt freshman designated hitter Tyler Snep went yard on a full count pitch. Then sophomore Brendan Sher struck out looking, but Trenton Wallace smashed a one-out double into the left-center field gap and Iowa was off and running. Nine Hawkeyes, two extra-base hits, two hit batters, and two Nebraska pitchers later, Iowa had put a six-spot on the scoreboard and were trailing by a single run.

The Hawkeyes could’ve just as easily drawn even with Nebraska, though, as the inning ended with the bases loaded on back-to-back strike outs from Sher and Wallace.

RELATED: Seven-run third inning hampers Iowa baseball

That missed opportunity along with two more Cornhusker tallies and Iowa’s failure to capitalize on missed scoring chances in the seventh and eighth led to a series-tying 10-8 win for Nebraska. Iowa is now 4-6 on the year.

In the seventh inning, Sher struck out to end the inning, leaving Adreon stranded at second. The final run-scoring chance was squandered when Peyton Williams struck out and Dylan Nedved popped out to second base, ending the eighth frame with Ben Norman and Matthew Sosa both in scoring position.

“Today, there was a lot of times where we had guys on base, just couldn’t get them in,” Norman said. “We just didn’t have that one huge hit that could’ve broken the game open for us.”

Despite today’s loss, Nedved believes that Iowa’s fight today will be something to look back on down the road.

“When the team shows a lot of fight and a lot of heart like that, it definitely doesn’t go unnoticed,” Nedved said. “It shows what we’re made of and we’re excited to take that in the future with us.”

The Hawkeyes’ first home series of the season concludes tomorrow at 1:05. With a victory, Iowa would claim its first series win of the season. Duncan Davitt is the probable pitcher for the Hawkeyes, while Shay Schanaman is the probable pitcher for the Cornhuskers.

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