Iowa baseball overpowers Minnesota, 7-1

A six-run fifth inning helped the Hawkeyes defeat the Golden Gophers in blowout fashion at Duane Banks Field on Friday night.


Ryan Adams

Hawkeye pitcher Trenton Wallace pitches during the baseball game against Illinois at Duane Banks Field on March 30, 2019. The Hawkeyes defeated the Fighting Illini 2-1 after the 9th inning.

Austin Hanson, Sports Editor

On Friday night, Iowa baseball was outhit by Minnesota, 11-3. The Hawkeyes, however, were not outplayed.

Iowa’s three hits produced a whopping seven runs, while Minnesota yielded just one run from its eleven hits, resulting in a 7-1 final score in favor of the Hawkeyes.

Iowa’s win was unconventional, but not unexpected according to Hawkeye head coach Rick Heller.

“Weird stat line, but we’ll take it,” Heller said postgame. “I thought we played good baseball tonight. Very few free bases that we gave up. We pitched and played defense, and if you do that, you usually score enough runs [to win] and that was the case tonight.”

Ace Trenton Wallace got the starting nod on the bump for the Hawkeyes Friday evening, and the Rock Island, Illinois, native surrendered nine hits in his six-inning, 106-pitch outing.

Despite that, the junior hurler didn’t allow a single Golden Gopher to cross home plate during his stint on the mound.

“Minnesota did a great job tonight,” Wallace said. “You have to give them credit of putting balls in play — it might not have been the hardest-hit balls. The main thing for me on the mound tonight was not letting those hits get to me and continuing to compete and trusting my defense. The defense behind me tonight was phenomenal.”

On the evening, Iowa’s defense committed just one error, posting a .973 fielding percentage.

“It starts with great pitching by Trenton Wallace,” Heller said. “He did a great job for us tonight. He had to work out of some jams. We played great defense when we needed to tonight. We made tough plays at crucial times in the game.”

For the first 5.5 frames of Friday night’s contest, the Hawkeyes and Golden Gophers played to a 0-0 draw. Prior to the bottom of the fifth inning, Minnesota’s sophomore starting pitcher Sam Ireland had held the Hawkeyes hitless.

Then, Iowa’s Dylan Nedved reached first base on a throwing error. Nedved would eventually advance to third on a Zeb Adreon single to right field.

Nedved was driven in by a Matthew Sosa groundout, and Adreon crossed home plate after a Brendan Sher flyout to center field.

Two at-bats later, redshirt freshman first baseman Peyton Williams stepped to the plate with the bases loaded and a 2-0 Iowa lead in his back pocket.

From there, Williams delivered a knockout blow to the Golden Gophers, launching a 1-1 pitch from Ireland out of view and over the right-field wall.

“We knew that [Ireland], coming into the game was a heavy off-speed pitcher with runners in scoring position,” Williams said. “I was really just looking for a slider I could hit because we knew he likes to go that slider. So, I got the hanging slider that I was looking for and I kind of just took a swing at it.”

Once Williams’ ball finally came to rest — seemingly on Hawkins Drive just outside the confines of Duane Banks Field — Iowa held a 6-0 lead.

The Hawkeyes went on to score one more time in seventh frame, and in the ninth inning, the Golden Gophers scored one run on Iowa’s bullpen, breaking up the Hawkeyes’ shutout bid.

Iowa is now 10-9 on the season. Before Friday, the Hawkeyes had not boasted a win percentage above .500.

Iowa returns to Duane Banks Field Saturday and Sunday to wrap up its three-game series against Minnesota.

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