Iowa baseball team outscores Minnesota 31-2 in three-game sweep, improves to 12-9 on the season

The Hawkeyes walloped the Gophers, 18-0, in the back end of a doubleheader Sunday afternoon.


Grace Smith

Iowa pitcher, Drew Irvine, pitches the ball during the Iowa baseball game v. Minnesota at the Duane Banks Field in Iowa City on April 11, 2021.

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Heading into the fifth inning of the second game of Sunday’s Iowa-Minnesota baseball doubleheader, “Tell Me It’s Over” by Avril Lavigne played over the speakers at Duane Banks Field. By that time, the game was basically over. And so was the series.

The Hawkeyes scored 12 runs in the first two innings on their way to dismantling the Gophers 18-0, a score that may have looked more at home inside Kinnick Stadium, in the back end of the doubleheader.

Iowa (12-9 overall) won all three games against Minnesota (4-17) this weekend, including both ends of Sunday’s doubleheader. The Hawkeyes outscored the Gophers 31-2 in the series and now sit three games over .500 — good for fifth place in the Big Ten.

“Where we find our success is when we’re able to lock it in every single pitch,” said catcher Austin Martin, who tallied two hits Sunday. “Whether we’re up 12-0 or down 12-0 we have the same focus and that’s what made us successful this weekend.”

Twelve games into the 2021 season, Iowa sat at 4-8. A 7-1 win against the Gophers Friday night had the team over .500 for the first time this season. The Hawkeyes didn’t waste their opportunity Sunday to further the gap between them and a losing record.

In game one of the doubleheader, Iowa’s surroundings were cold, but the team’s bats were hot.

With wind blowing relentlessly out to right field throughout the game and the temperature stuck in the high 40s, the Hawkeyes hit four home runs in their 6-1 game one victory. Dylan Nedved tallied four hits, including a home run, two singles, and a triple. Across two games Sunday, Nedved went 6-for-7 at the plate and also threw two scoreless innings in relief of Drew Irvine in game one.

“I feel like I’m getting into a groove here and as a team, we’re really hitting a hot spot right now,” said Irvine, who allowed one run in a career-high seven innings pitched in Sunday’s first game. “We have to keep that going and build momentum into the next few weeks.”

In game two, starter Cam Baumann threw five scoreless frames, and three Hawkeye relievers carried out the shutout.

Iowa’s pitching staff allowed one run in 18 innings of play on Sunday. The team’s bats accounted for 28 hits.

“Ultimately we found consistency both with our pitching staff and our hitting and that’s why we’ve taken a big stride forward,” Martin said. “Ups and downs throughout a season are never easy, but we have a good group of guys so we knew the sun was going to come out eventually. Thankfully it did.”

The Hawkeyes have seemingly eradicated their early-season struggles nearly halfway through a 44-game regular season. But the team will be tested next week

Iowa travels to Newark, New Jersey, for a four-game road series next weekend against Rutgers (11-9). The series is scheduled to open at 1 p.m. (CT) Friday.

“You have to be relaxed and confident,” Iowa coach Rick Heller said. “I saw that a lot [Sunday], especially in game two. The way we came out stroking the ball, took what they were giving us, and didn’t try to do too much.

“We took another big step this week. We need to have another good week of practice and another good weekend next weekend. Every weekend is going to be a big challenge. These next weekends are really tough.”