By Blake Dowson
The Iowa baseball team (20-21, 7-8 Big Ten) failed to get the bats going over a wet weekend, scoring 6 runs against Kansas State, dropping two of three against the Wildcats.
Neither team strung too many hits together in the series, with Kansas State totaling only 8 runs in three games. The Wildcats’ two victories came by a total of merely 3 runs.
“The disappointing thing for me is I didn’t think we were very good offensively this entire weekend,” head coach Rick Heller said. “We only scored 6 runs this whole weekend. We have to be better than that. We can’t have that kind of pressure on our pitching staff.”
The Wildcats took the first game on April 29, 3-2, behind a solid performance from starter Parker Rigler. He went six innings, allowing only 1 run on 6 hits.
Sophomore C.J. Eldred took the loss for Iowa, moving his record to 2-6. Eldred went six innings allowing 2 runs, though only 1 was earned.
An error by Eldred as he was trying to cover first base on a play in the first inning allowed the Wildcats to score their first run, and that was ultimately the difference.
Senior Daniel Aaron Moriel had both of the Hawkeyes RBIs on April 29, including a solo home run in the bottom of the sixth to pull Iowa within 1.
Kansas State added a run in the seventh to move it to 3-1 before senior Tyler Peyton led off the eighth with a triple for Iowa. Moriel later brought him in with an RBI ground out to again pull Iowa within 1.
Iowa threatened again in the ninth when freshman Luke Farley got a pinch-hit single with one out. Senior Corbin Woods, who pinch-ran for Farley, advanced to second on a failed pick-off attempt.
Sophomore Grant Klenovich struck out for the second out of the inning, and Peyton made his only out of the game, popping up to end it. Peyton was 4-for-5 with two doubles and a triple.
After the April 30 matchup was rained out, the Hawkeyes evened the series in the first game of the Sunday double-header.
Hawkeye starter Ryan Erickson only lasted six outs for Iowa before he was lifted because of elbow tightness.
Sophomore Nick Gallagher came in to relieve Erickson and for the second weekend in a row was almost flawless out of the bullpen. He worked scoreless seven innings, allowing only 2 hits with 5 strikeouts and no walks.
“I felt pretty good out there,” Gallagher said. “It was the first time in a while that I pitched in the cold weather, but I was throwing all my stuff for strikes, so that was a positive.”
Kansas State started the scoring in the top of the second off Erickson, with Tyler Wolfe roping a double to right-center field and later coming around on a Quintin Crandall RBI groundout.
Peyton got the run back for Iowa in the bottom half of the inning, scoring Farley on an infield single.
After four-straight scoreless innings, senior Joel Booker hit a ball off the scoreboard in left field, damaging the video board, and putting the Hawkeyes ahead for good, 2-1.
“I was sitting off-speed, and he ended up hanging a slider,” Booker said.
The Wildcats took the rubber match Sunday afternoon by a score of 4-2, taking advantage of a few key Hawkeye errors.
Kansas State used a sacrifice bunt and an RBI groundout to score Clayton Dalrymple, who led off the game with a double in the first.
The Wildcats tacked on runs in the fourth, sixth, and eighth to put Iowa away.
A pair of doubles in the third inning by Peyton and senior Nick Roscetti plated a run for Iowa in the third, and Roscetti drove in another on a single in the seventh for Iowa’s 2 runs on the afternoon.
“We wanted to win this series, but it’s not a Big Ten series,” Roscetti said. “It was obviously important for us … but you have to look past it.”