IRVINE, Calif. – The University of Iowa baseball team’s late-inning rally came up short, as the Hawkeyes fell 7-6 at UC Irvine on Friday night in the series opener at Cicerone Field at Anteater Ballpark.
Trailing by four runs through six innings, Iowa tried to fight back, plating three runs in the seventh and putting the tying run in scoring position in the final two innings.
Iowa started its rally when redshirt freshman Keaton Anthony’s RBI single cut the deficit to 7-4 in the seventh and senior Brett McCleary delivered a two-out, two-run single to close the gap to 7-6.
The Hawkeyes put the game-tying run at second base in both the eighth and ninth innings, but Anteater reliever Troy Taylor went through the heart of the order to preserve the lead, getting Peyton Williams to pop out to short and fanning Anthony to end the eighth.
After giving up a leadoff double in the ninth to Sam Hojnar, Taylor retired the next three Hawkeyes in order to earn the save.
UC Irvine trailed 3-0 through 4 1/2 innings before scoring seven combined runs on just two hits in the fifth and sixth innings. The Anteaters took advantage of Hawkeye free bases.
After cruising through the first four innings, Iowa starter Adam Mazur walked the bases loaded with one out in the fifth before getting a big strikeout of Thomas McCaffery for the second out.
Mazur’s first pitch to Dub Gleed sailed over the head of catcher Ben Tallman for a wild pitch, allowing the first run to score before Gleed went the other way for a base hit to right center to tie the game at three.
UC Irvine had its first two batters reach via walks in the sixth on free passes from Will Christophersen. After both runners moved up a base on a double steal, a balk call pushed in the go-ahead run. Church made it 5-3 with an RBI single with two outs and the final two runs scored on a wild pitch with Church scoring from first following a Hawkeye error.
The Hawkeyes built a 3-0 lead with single runs in three straight innings. Anthony’s sacrifice fly got Iowa on the board in the third, senior Brendan Sher had an RBI groundout in the fourth to plate Anthony Mangano, who led off the inning with a triple, and Mangano’s sacrifice fly made it 3-0 in the fifth.
– Iowa matched a season high, finishing with 15 hits in the contest. Five different Hawkeyes had multi-hit games, including three-hit performances from Michael Seegers and Peyton Williams.
– Anthony had two hits for his team-leading sixth multi-hit game, while Mangano had his first career multi-hit contest.
– Senior Izaya Fullard made his season debut after missing the first three weeks of the season because of injury. Fullard went 0-of-2 and started at second base.
– The Hawkeye pitching staff limited the Anteaters to five hits in the game. It was the seventh time this season the staff has surrendered five or fewer hits.
– Iowa finished with 13 strikeouts in the game, its 10th game with 10 or more punch outs.
Game two of the three game series will begin at 8 p.m. (CT) on Saturday night. The game will be streamed live on ESPN+.