Dylan Nedved records another quality start as Iowa defeats Illinois 4-2 in game one of doubleheader
Illinois rallies late to win second game, 7-5
By Pat Harty
IOWA CITY, Iowa – Quality starts are now almost routine for Iowa pitcher Dylan Nedved.
The latest proof was game one of Saturday’s doubleheader against Illinois in which Nedved allowed just one run over five innings.
The bullpen then did the rest as Iowa allowed just five hits and prevailed 4-2 at a sunny Duane Banks Field.
“It’s always nice to start the weekend off strong for the team,” said Nedved, a senior from Shawnee Mission, Kansas. “I just went out there and tried to give the team the best chance to win.
“Today, we were able to get it done, and it’s a real nice start for us.”
Nedved has earned the distinction of being Iowa’s Friday starter, which is another way of saying the ace of the staff.
Iowa and Illinois were originally scheduled to play the the first game of the three-game series on Friday.
However, that game was cancelled due to poor weather conditions, turning Saturday into a doubleheader.
Illinois entered the series 5-1 in conference play, and with a potent offensive lineup.
But it was hard to tell as Nedved kept the Illinois batters off balance with a variety of pitches.
“I’d say command is maybe working best for me,” Nedved said. “Maybe not today so much with the fastball. But that’s really what has been getting me through ball games is my command.”
Iowa took a 1-0 lead in the bottom of the third inning on a run-scoring single by Michael Seegers.
The Hawkeyes scored two more runs in the fourth on RBI singles by Keaton Anthony and Izaya Fullard.
It was Fullard’s first RBI of the season as he missed most of the nonconference schedule due to a broken bone in his left hand that required surgery in February.
Iowa scored its fourth run on a solo home run by junior Brendan Sher to center field in the seventh inning. It was Sher’s second home run this season.
Illinois loaded the bases and cut the deficit to 4-2 in the ninth on a single followed by a sacrifice fly.
Iowa pitcher Ben Beutel then quelled the rally by recording the final three outs.
Saturday’s doubleheader has been one of the few times this season that Iowa has played in decent weather conditions at home.
And while it was chilly with temperatures in the low 50s, it was a big improvement from some of the previous games that were played in 30 and 40-degree temperatures.
“It felt hot out there today,” Nedved said. “I know it’s only like 50 degrees or so today. But it feels great.”
Nedved has settled into a starter’s role after having pitched mostly in relief before this season, including being Iowa’s closer last season when he ranked second in the Big Ten with nine saves.
He also has played in the infield for Iowa.
“I really just want the ball in my hands, to be honest,” Nedved said when asked what role he likes the best. “I’ll take it whenever I can get it. I’m just going to try and give my team the best chance I got.”
Nedved, along with fellow starters Adam Mazur and Ty Langenberg, are all pitching well right now.
Mazur had another strong performance in the second game of Saturday’s doubleheader, allowing just three hits and recording nine strikeouts before being lifted in the seventh inning.
However, Illinois rallied to win, 7-5 in 13 innings, turning Sunday’s game with Langenberg on the mound for Iowa into the rubber match.
Iowa is 16-11 overall and 3-2 in conference play, and has won nine of its last 13 games.
“It’s almost like a competition for us out there every day,” Nedved said. “To compete and see who can be the best. We’re all trying to be the best and it makes everyone else compete even harder.
“So, it’s nice to have that on the staff.”
Postgame comments from Game 1 winning pitcher Dylan Nedved. A team effort! Game 2 coming up shortly. pic.twitter.com/v7LX05IzmR
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) April 9, 2022