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Iowa baseball loses series to Indiana

BY MATT COZZI | APRIL 18, 2011 7:20 AM

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A two-out rally in the second inning was all Indiana needed on Sunday.

The Hoosiers (23-12, 6-3) defeated the Iowa baseball team, 6-0, in game two of a double-header at Banks Field. Iowa (13-20, 3-6) prevailed in game one, tallying a 2-1 victory.

In game two on Sunday, junior Patrick Lala made his first start of the season on the mound. The right-hander had made 12 relief appearances coming into Sunday.

Aside from allowing three runs in the second — all with two outs — Lala threw a career high six innings against the Hoosiers, scattering nine hits while striking out six.

"I thought I kept my pitch count low," he said. "The second inning kind of got away from me with two outs, so that's something to work on. Other than that, I think today's start is something to build on."

Following Lala's exit in the seventh frame, Hawkeye relievers Tim Fangman and Zack Kenyon combined to give up an additional three runs in the final three innings.

The Hawkeyes' best rally attempt came in the seventh inning — Iowa sent six batters to the plate. Nothing positive came out of it, however. Center fielder Trevor Willis struck out looking with the bases loaded and two outs.

Head coach Jack Dahm's squad lacked the clutch hit all weekend — the Hawkeyes also lost to the Hoosiers on April 16, 2-1 — and both losses can be attributed to Iowa's recent offensive woes.

"We had opportunities [in game two], but we couldn't come up with the big hit," Dahm said. "There weren't a lot of quality at-bats from us. Our overall approach offensively has to get better. We didn't have a very good approach this weekend."

Despite the struggles up and down the lineup for the Hawkeyes, Mike McQuillan continued to lead the way offensively, going a combined 3-for-8 with one run scored on Sunday. McQuillan leads the team in batting average with a .323 clip.

Iowa starting pitchers surrendered just five runs in the three games against the Hoosiers, but the squad couldn't pull out the series win.

The Hawkeyes have now lost three-straight series to open up Big Ten play.

"It's tough to lose series at home," McQuillan said. "That's one thing you want to do, you want to win your home games. We let two slip away the last couple days. We know we're better, and we're going to come back strong next weekend against Michigan."

In the double-header's first contest on Sunday, left-hander Matt Dermody threw a complete game while striking out four Indiana hitters. Senior Zach McCool went 1-for-3 with an RBI, and catcher Tyson Blaser reached base twice in the win.

The run production stopped there, though — Indiana freshman Joey DeNato struck out 11 Hawkeye batters in the day's second game. The crafty lefty yielded just four hits and shut down the Iowa lineup.

"I think we might get a voodoo going and dance around our bats," Blaser said jokingly. "In all seriousness, though, the biggest thing for us is not to press. The Big Ten can be weird sometimes. We've lost three-straight series, but we're not out of it yet... hopefully, we can get things rolling and take that and run with it."


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