IOWA CITY, Iowa – Redshirt junior Trenton Wallace went seven innings to lead the University of Iowa baseball team to a 6-5 series-opening victory over Indiana on Friday night at Bart Kaufman Field.
“Anytime you can win on Friday, it’s a big thing,” said head coach Rick Heller. “We challenged this group starting in April to wipe the slate clean, and this was our fifth straight Friday night win in April. They answered the call.
“I was happy with how we came out and attacked and were confident. We played clean baseball; it was a great way to start the series.”
Wallace, a southpaw from Rock Island, Illinois, allowed three runs on seven hits and he struck out nine for the second straight game to notch his fourth victory of the season. It was Wallace’s team-leading fifth quality start.
“Trenton gave us what we needed,” said Heller. “He scattered some hits and did a great job for us tonight.”
The Hawkeyes struck first, plating the game’s first run on a bunt RBI single from redshirt junior Brett McCleary in the second. The Hoosiers answered in the bottom half, capitalizing on a leadoff triple and pushing two runs across the plate to take a 2-1 lead.
Iowa answered right back, scoring two in the third, one in the fourth and two in the sixth to take a 6-2 lead.
The Hawkeyes got a two-run home run from redshirt senior Austin Martin in the third on a ball that caromed off the Bart Kaufman Field scoreboard. Iowa loaded the bases in the fourth and scored on a walk from Ben Norman as they chased starter Tommy Sommer from the game after just four innings.
Sommer entered the contest with a 5-1 record and a 3.42 ERA.
Iowa added to its lead with a two-run sixth. After Matthew Sosa walked to leadoff the inning, McCleary singled and Sosa scored on a Hoosier fielding error. Norman doubled in the second run, making the score 6-2.
The Hawkeyes went to reliever Dylan Nedved in the eighth and the Hoosiers made it interesting, scoring two runs on two hits and a walk to close to within 6-5. Nedved rebounded by sitting Indiana down in order in the ninth for his seventh save.
Martin and McCleary both tallied multi-hit games, accounting for half of Iowa’s eight hits. Norman and Martin both had multi-RBI games.
QUOTING HEAD COACH RICK HELLER
“I was happy with our offense; they were disciplined and they spit on a lot of tough pitches by Sommers and worked his pitch count up. We had clutch hits, Ben Norman had another big night and Austin Martin had a big home run into the wind. I would have bet my house that no one would hit a home run to left field, and McCleary had a big game as well.”
– Iowa has won five straight series openers, going a perfect 5-for-5 in the month of April.
– The Hawkeyes have won 15 of their last 18 games to improve to 19-11 overall.
– Wallace tied a career-high with his seven-inning outing. He has three games with nine or more strikeouts and six games with eight or more strikeouts this season.
– Redshirt senior Zeb Adreon singled in his first at-bat on Friday, running his consecutive reached base streak to 11 plate appearances. He fouled out in the third.
– Redshirt freshman Peyton Williams did not play; he’s day-to-day.
Game two of the series will begin at 1 p.m. (CT) on Saturday. The Hawkeyes are looking for their sixth straight series win.