Cornell College, dispatched. The Hawkeyes scored seven runs in the first inning of Tuesday’s home opener and coasted the remainder of the way to improve to 6-1 on the season.
Trenton Wallace (1-0) was credited with the win after pitching three strong innings, scattering four hits but not allowing any runs in his first career start. The freshman led the way in a strong pitching effort from the whole staff - in six innings of relief work, the bullpen continued what Wallace started and shut down Cornell’s offense almost completely. The Rams scored a run in the fourth inning thanks to some wildness from Iowa righty Shane Ritter - after giving up a two-out single, Ritter went on to hit the next batter and throw two wild pitches to help Cornell push across their lone run of the day.
Outside of that iffy fourth inning of work, Iowa’s pitching staff dominated on the day. The Hawks allowed just six hits and combined to strike out 12 batters and walk one. Due to the way the game progressed, Rick Heller had the opportunity to dive deep into his bullpen to see what he has available to him this season. Those guys impressed, and it wouldn’t be surprising if we saw more of Jack Dreyer in particular, whether that be as an important bullpen piece or making more weekday appearances.
Thanks to the stellar pitching, Iowa didn’t need a whole lot of help offensively, but they sure got it. The Hawkeyes exploded for seven runs in the first, although they received a ton of help from Cornell - a two-out throwing error by SS John-Michael Osley (very strong name, for what it’s worth) helped Iowa tack on five more runs in the first. Just check out this play-by-play:
Iowa had an absolute field day at the plate. Seriously, all 14 Hawkeyes with a plate appearance reached base at least once in the contest, nine of them collecting at least one base hit. The most jarring stat of the game is that despite Iowa hanging 15 runs on Cornell, they only had 10 hits. Cornell really helped the Hawks out by issuing NINE free passes, hitting a couple batters, and committing four errors. It’s all about the fundamentals, boys and girls.
The announced attendance for the ballgame was 1,059. That’s astounding for a February baseball game, regardless of how nice the weather was. Just five short years ago, there were murmurs that the Iowa athletic department could cut the baseball program. Fast-forward to 2018, and Iowa is drawing solid crowds in February and talking about renovating the whole baseball complex. What a difference a few years makes.
The Hawkeyes travel to Birmingham, AL to take on UAB in a three-game set this weekend. The Blazers were picked to finish dead last in Conference USA by D1Baseball.com, but have had a good start to the season. They’re 4-2 on the year, including a three-game sweep of Bowling Green to begin the season. More on that Friday.