Baseball loses again

BY JEFF PAWOLA | APRIL 13, 2009 7:30 AM

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The Iowa baseball team lost its seventh-consecutive game Sunday, falling, 8-4, to Indiana at Banks Field.

The loss came as a result of six wild pitches, one passed ball, and nine free passes — three of which were hit batters.

“[Passed balls and wild pitches] cannot happen. I don’t even know how many we had,” Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said. “Some of them needed to be blocked, and some could be blocked, and others were probably just lack of concentration.”

After collecting an early 1-0 lead, courtesy of an Indiana error in the first inning that resulted in senior Justin Toole crossing the plate, freshman Hawkeye pitcher Phil Schreiber imploded in the top of the third.

The Kaukauna, Wis., native gave up three earned runs after pitching a near flawless first and second inning. After facing only six batters in the opening two frames, Schreiber faced eight different Hoosiers in the third, allowing four hits and one walk. With the bases loaded and the game tied 1-1, freshman second basemen Andrew Ewing committed his second error of the game, dropping a pop-up with the bases loaded. The play was ruled an out because of the infield fly rule, but after the dropped ball, Indiana freshman Vince Gonzalez scored from third base.

Iowa (11-20, 2-7) answered in the fourth, scoring one run to trim the lead to 3-2 but missed a golden opportunity to claim the lead. The first three batters got things going for the Hawkeyes, with senior Kevin Hoef, freshman Nick Brown, and senior Wes Freie collecting singles. But with runners on first and third and no outs, the next three Hawkeyes were retired in order, ending the threat.

Iowa gave the run back in the top of the fifth with its first wild pitch of the afternoon. Senior Nick Erdman, who replaced Schreiber in the fourth, threw his only wild pitch while attempting to intentionally walk junior designated hitter Alex Dickerson. Chris Hervey, who was on second, advanced.

“I just lost focus out there. I really wanted to go after that hitter, and seeing the four fingers to walk the guy I just lost focus,” Erdman said. “I tried to not throw it to the backstop, and when you try not to do something, you usually do it.”

Immediately following the wild pitch, Iowa head coach Jack Dahm replaced Erdman with sophomore Patrick Schatz to finish the intentional walk. Unfortunately, Schatz threw another wild pitch, his first of three, which brought home Hervey from third, making the score 4-2.
Indiana (16-17, 6-2) scored once more in the seventh, then, the Hoosiers’ junior starting pitcher Matt Bashore threw a wild pitch, allowing Hawkeye junior Ryan Durant to score from third after reaching base on an error.

Like clockwork, Iowa allowed another run in the top of the eighth despite not allowing a hit. The run came courtesy of freshman catcher Dallas Burke allowing a passed ball. Indiana was almost given another run when junior Evan Crawford advanced to third after senior Mike Schurz threw Iowa’s sixth and final wild pitch.

“I don’t really have any explanation for wild pitches other than focus,” senior catcher Kody McManis said. “[The pitchers have] been well-coached, well-trained, and it just comes down to execution.”

Indiana added two runs in the ninth to push the score to 8-3, followed by one additional run for the Hawkeyes in the ninth to finish the game at 8-4.

“I’m not going to take away from Indiana, but we gave them everything today,” Dahm said. “We just didn’t play well enough in every phase of the game.”

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