Iowa baseball team scores six unanswered runs, bullpen shuts down Maryland late in series-opening victory

The Hawkeyes have won 12 of their last 14 games.



Iowa Trenton Wallace pitches during a baseball game between Iowa and Maryland on Friday, April 23, 2021 at Duane Banks Baseball Stadium. The Hawkeyes beat the Terrapins 6-2. (Ayrton Breckenridge/The Daily Iowan)

Robert Read, Pregame Editor

Any fans in the stands Friday night at Duane Banks Field hoping for a prototypical pitching duel quickly had their expectations shattered.

In the first inning alone, both Trenton Wallace — Iowa’s left-handed ace — and Maryland’s top starter Sean Burke worked themselves into bases-loaded jams. Wallace and Burke both managed to escape those situations without surrendering any runs. But the baserunners continued to mount for both teams.

Wallace allowed 10 Terrapins to reach base (two hits, six walks, two hit batters) in 4.1 innings of work. Burke, who pitched six innings of one-run ball and recorded 11 strikeouts against Iowa on March 27, gave up three hits, walked six batters, and hit another with a pitch in 5.2 innings of work in his latest meeting with the Hawkeyes. Iowa’s batters took advantage of its frequent baserunners while Maryland didn’t in a 6-2 Hawkeye victory to open the two-game series between the teams.

“It was a weird game in a sense that both starting pitchers struggled with their command,” Iowa coach Rick Heller said postgame. “You also saw when runners got in scoring position, they toughed it out.”

Wallace entered Friday with the fifth-best ERA in the Big Ten (2.87). That mark went down to 2.57 by the time Heller took the ball from Wallace’s hand in the fifth inning.

Despite walking six batters for the second-consecutive start, Wallace struck out nine Terrapins to prevent any earned runs from being scored. Maryland’s only run against Wallace was unearned and came after catcher Austin Martin airmailed a throw to second base, which allowed the runner to swipe third.

Maryland scored on a sacrifice fly as a result in the top of the third, but otherwise couldn’t take advantage of Wallace’s command troubles.

“Trenton minimized the damage as best he could,” Heller said. “… “Trenton sometimes puts pressure on himself when things start to go downhill. He did a really good job of regrouping and working out of some jams tonight.

“He tends to spin off a little bit when he’s not locating and I think he’s been doing some of that the past couple games. We need to get him back right back to where he was. He had great stuff tonight. He had a great fastball. He was just off a little bit and that cost him.”

Wallace was removed from the game after hitting a batter to load the bases in the fifth.

Trace Hoffman relieved Wallace and allowed one run over 1.2 innings pitched. Dylan Nedved tossed three scoreless innings, while allowing only one hit, to close out the game.

“The bullpen did a great job,” Heller said. “They were fantastic. He fought for us, worked out of jams. A lot of self-inflicted jams. Burke had some jams too. We had some opportunities early in the game to score some runs, but he really toughed it out and found a way to get out of the inning.”

Iowa managed only one hit through the first five innings of action. But on Burke’s 117th and final pitch of the night, Hawkeye shortstop Brendan Sher ripped a sharp double into right-center field to give Iowa a one-run lead.

Maryland led 2-0 entering the bottom of the sixth inning. Iowa responded with six unanswered runs over the rest of the game to win its first game of the weekend and improve to 3-0 against Maryland this season.

The Hawkeyes (16-10) and the Terrapins (13-13) will face off again Saturday at 1:05 p.m. in the second half of the two-game series. Iowa will then play Northwestern on Sunday and Monday.

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