Iowa Baseball Continues Big 10 Success At Home


The University of Iowa baseball team extended its trend of winning conference series at Duane Banks Field this weekend, taking two out of three games from defending Big 10 champion Illinois

It’s been 23 months since the last time the Hawkeyes (14-15 overall, 5-4 Big 10) lost a conference series at home, as that last occurred on May 10, 2014 against these same Fighting Illini. That streak has now grown to six consecutive series, during which Iowa has a record of 15-3.

The key to winning games in this weekend’s series against Illinois was making four runs stand up. The Hawkeyes scored four runs in all three games, winning the series opener and finale by identical 4-3 scores but dropping the middle game 10-4.

Friday night’s series opener was postponed due to cold temperatures, giving both teams an extra day to prepare for a Saturday doubleheader. The extra preparation paid off in an evenly-matched contest that went extra innings.

Iowa sophomore CJ Eldred, looking for his third consecutive complete game on the mound, fell short of that goal but still gave the Hawkeyes a quality start. Iowa got a single run in the bottom of the first on a senior Nick Roscetti home run, then added two more with a freshman Nick Daniels single and a senior Jimmy Frankos sacrifice fly in the bottom of the third to take a 3-0 lead.

Illinois struck back with two runs in the fourth, then was able to tie the game in the top of the ninth when three Iowa pitchers couldn’t preserve the win for Eldred. After going in order in the bottom of the ninth, the Hawkeyes walked off in the bottom of the 10th when senior Joel Booker doubled to lead off the at-bat, advanced to third on a Daniels groundout, then scored on a fielder’s choice put in play by Frankos.

Eldred ended up with a no decision after seven innings of work in which he was charged for the first two runs on six hits with a walk, five strikeouts and a hit batsman. Senior Tyler Radtke got the win with 1.2 innings pitched which included one hit allowed and a strikeout.

After a break, the Hawkeyes took the field again looking to wrap up the series win and sweep Saturday’s twin-bill. This time, however, the four runs wouldn’t be enough.

A rough start by Iowa senior Tyler Peyton in which he allowed the Illini to score multiple runs in three of the five innings he pitched was the primary culprit responsible for the loss. Peyton left after five having allowed nine runs (eight earned, but he made the error allowing the ninth run to score) on nine hits with two walks and four strikeouts.

Both teams entered the series finale looking for a win, and the first Sunday start for Hawkeye sophomore Nick Gallagher was the backdrop for the rubber game.

After allowing Illinois to push across a run in the first inning on three hits, Gallagher settled down to throw four more shutout innings in which he allowed just one hit. Iowa was able to tie the game in the third with a Booker sac fly, but it wasn’t until after Gallagher had thrown his last pitch, that the Hawkeyes put him in line for the victory.

Booker’s bat made even more noise in the fifth when it sent a baseball over the left field wall with Peyton and senior Eric Schenck-Joblinske already standing on base, putting Iowa up 4-1.

Illinois was able to add single runs in the seven and eighth innings, but Daniels was able to close the door in the ninth for the save and preserve the series win for Iowa.

Booker finished the series 5-for-13 with five runs batted in and four runs scored. Roscetti went 5-for-13 with a run scored, an RBI and a walk. Frankos was 2-5 with two RBIs.

Next: Baer Earns Scholarship

Iowa will finish this home stand with two non-conference games against Air Force on Tuesday, April 12 and Wednesday, April 13. First pitch in both games is scheduled for 6:05 p.m. The Hawkeyes will then try to be as successful on the road in Big 10 play as they have been at home, facing Indiana for three games in Bloomington over the weekend.