Baseball’s late rally falls short, 5-4, against Kansas

BY RYAN YOUNG | APRIL 08, 2009 7:30 AM

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Four errors, a couple bizarre plays, and countless offensive miscues were Iowa’s kiss of death Tuesday night against Kansas during a 5-4 loss.

A sparse midweek crowd at Banks Field watched the Hawkeyes drop their third-consecutive game and fourth since April 1 after staging a rally in the ninth inning. And as a result, Iowa head coach Jack Dahm is feeling a little perturbed.

“We just didn’t play well enough to win that game,” he said. “We’re playing all these close games, and all those little mistakes are costing us. You know, I’m getting frustrated. It’s disappointing, but we’ll keep plugging away.

“We have shown signs of being a pretty good ball club, but we have to do it consistently.”

Iowa jumped to an early lead in the bottom of the first with the help of a freak play.

A deep shot to right field by freshman designated hitter Nick Brown scored senior Kevin Hoef from third. But as the ball carried, it bounced off the outfield fence and back into play, which left Brown scratching his head after he was tagged out during a rundown between first and second.

That left sophomore center fielder Kurtis Muller on second and in scoring position, but Iowa couldn’t capitalize further as senior T.J. Cataldo grounded out to end the inning.

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“We put some guys on base today,” said Muller, who went 2-for-4 with a walk. “We just have to find a way to get them in. Obviously, it starts defensively. We have to eliminate the four errors we had.”

The Jayhawks took advantage of two hits, an error, and a hit batsman to counter one inning later in the top of the third, plating a pair of runs to take an early 2-1 lead.

Nevertheless, the Hawkeyes managed to knot up the score, 2-2, immediately afterward in the bottom of the frame. Cataldo stroked a ground-ball single up the middle to bring in Hoef from third.
From there, Iowa and Kansas entered into a pitching dual as Jayhawk starter Cameron Selik combined with Hawkeye hurlers Phil Schreiber and Patrick Schatz for three scoreless innings.

Kansas broke the deadlock in the top of the seventh, though. Jayhawk center fielder Brian Heere lined a one-out single into right field to score teammate Robby Price, who had previously advanced from first to third on a throwing error by Schatz during a pickoff attempt.

But Kansas failed to extend its 3-2 lead further, leaving runners on the base paths following a fly out to right.

Iowa did the same in the bottom of the seventh, however, stranding two runners at the end of the inning after the designated hitter Brown tallied his second RBI of the evening to tie the game 3-3.

Those heroics would go unrewarded however in the ninth. A throwing error by Iowa substitute third baseman Trevor Willis loaded the bases, and Kansas posted two insurance runs on a one-out single down the left-field line.

The Hawkeyes attempted a comeback in the last frame, plating one run to cut the Jayhawks’ lead in half. Yet with two outs and the bases loaded, redshirt freshman Phil Keppler struck out swinging to end the game.

“We came out there, and we knew we had to get a job done,” said Brown, who ended up going 3-for-5 with three RBIs. “We started to do it, but in the end it was just too much. I mean, we scored a couple runs. But we had our chances the whole game. We just didn’t take the opportunities and fulfill them.”

Iowa is scheduled for rematch with Kansas today beginning at 4 p.m.

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