Iowa baseball’s hitting not enough in series finale

Though the Hawkeyes had one less hit than the Cornhuskers, Iowa wasn’t as effective at the plate.


Jerod Ringwald

Iowa Center Fielder Ben Norman prepares to high five Head Coach Rick Heller after homering during a baseball game between Iowa and Nebraska at Duane Banks Field on Sunday, March 21, 2021. The Cornhuskers defeated the Hawkeyes 13-8.

Isaac Goffin, Assistant Sports Editor

For the second straight day in the row, Nebraska baseball’s bats were just better than Iowa’s as the Hawkeyes lost, 13-8, Sunday at Duane Banks Field.

The Hawkeyes won one of the three games in home-opening and fell to 4-7 on the 2021 season. The completion of 11 games marks one-fourth of the regular season completed.

Though the Cornhuskers had 11 hits compared the Hawkeyes’ 10, Nebraska was just a lot more impactful on its batting opportunities.

“It’s just been a combination of a lot of things,” head coach Rick Heller said. “I can make excuses all day long, but I mean there are things that affected our start. We got a lot of guys that have been hurt. Peyton Williams basically had to jump in and play 70 percent and then we lose Izaya [Fullard] on the day when the wind’s blowing out 40 miles an hour to a hamstring yesterday. Austin Martin’s beat up a little bit.

“We’re just not clicking. Matt Sosa has been pretty consistent since the start and Ben Norman got off to a slow but he’s now heating up a little bit. We just got to keep plugging away on the offensive side. Our top guys need to come through if this team is going to have a chance to win a lot of games.”

Nebraska got on the board first with a one-run first inning, and then Iowa got three runs in the bottom half on the inning when Tyler Snep hit a three run home run to right field.

But it was in the second inning that the Cornhuskers took the lead and never looked back. In that inning, they scored a run off a triple, double, walk, single, and a balk, which resulted in six runs. Iowa starting pitcher Duncan Davitt only lasted 1.2 innings.

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Norman did have a nice series, going 6-of-14 on the weekend with seven RBIs and two home runs. He had one home run, four RBIs, and two hits Sunday. Martin and Snep also had two hits.

“We had a lot of solid bats today but not enough,” Norman said. “We didn’t execute when we needed to… I mean it’s always frustrating, you always like to compete really hard on those Sunday rubber match games, so we just got to focus a little more on our [at bats].”

In the eighth inning, it looked like Norman hit his second home run of the game when the ball flew past the center field fence. But he accidently went ahead of second baseman Dylan Nedved while rounding past first base.

That caused the scorekeeper to rule that Norman hit a single and grounded out unassisted to the second baseman while granting him two RBIs, effectively taking one run off the board if it was ruled a home run.

“That was a very weird play,” Norman said. “I think both of us just got caught looking at the ball. I know I was still looking at the ball when I hit first, and I didn’t even see Dylan and I’m sure he was looking at the ball too to make the read on if he should advance or go back. So just a weird play, just something you see once in a while.”

Iowa is hitting a .224 batting average through 11 games.

The Hawkeyes have had success in previous seasons. They were 10-5 in the shortened 2020 season and went 31-24 in 2019.

Heller is hoping his leaders can step up to help the team get back its winning ways. Iowa plays next from March 26-28 in two games against Ohio State and two games against Maryland in Columbus, Ohio.

“The thing that happens in baseball a lot of times is that if you’re one of the guys that everyone looks up to and you’re hitting .097 it makes It difficult in their eyes to lead and that’s not the case,” Heller said. “It’s about how you go about your business and handle the failure that gives all the biggest lessons to those guys watching. Just trying to do a lot of coaching to keep guys fighting, and the captains need to do a good job of rallying the troops.”

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