Iowa baseball loses another one-run game

BY MATT COZZI | MAY 05, 2011 7:20 AM

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Disappointed, agitated, blameful.

Head coach Jack Dahm expressed those emotions and put Wednesday night’s Iowa loss on himself after shortstop Kurt Lee was thrown out at third base to end the game.

With two outs and nobody on base in the bottom of the ninth inning, Lee hit a rocket down the right-field line for a double. But he was gunned down attempting to advance another 90 feet to third after Dahm waved him in his direction from the third-base coach box.

The Hawkeyes (16-26) fell short in the late innings and lost to Wisconsin-Milwaukee, 4-3.

“That’s not the way you’re supposed to end the game after a good at-bat by Kurt Lee,” Dahm said after the game. “I’ve been pretty critical of our players not trying to do too much, and I get the tying run thrown out at third base with two outs to end the game with the top of the order coming up [next].

“I’m disappointed in myself for that play. Kurt had a great at-bat there, and I got him thrown out. Our guys battled to the last pitch, and I took it out of our players’ hands.”

Once again, the Iowa offense was not able to support its relatively solid starting pitching. In the second inning, the Hawkeyes mustered just one run after they had runners on first and second and nobody out, then bases loaded and just one out.

Catcher Tyson Blaser led off the second with a double and right fielder Taylor Zeutenhorst reached on an error, but first baseman Bryan Niedbalski struck out. Then, with the bases loaded, outfielder Kyle Haen hit a hard ground ball to third for an RBI fielder’s choice before Lee popped out to second for the third out.

“We didn’t get the hits when we needed them — there’s not much else to say,” Lee said. “We didn’t have quality at-bats. We kept them to 4 runs, and that should be enough for a midweek game, but it wasn’t.”

The teams were tied at 1 going into the fifth when Milwaukee rattled Iowa starter Ricky Sandquist. The Panthers scored 2 runs in the inning with back-to-back RBI doubles to take a 3-1 advantage.

Sandquist was pulled in the middle of the frame; the sophomore right-hander scattered six hits and 3 runs in 41⁄3 innings of work.

Relievers Phil Keppler and Tim Fangman limited the damage, and the two combined to hold Milwaukee to 1 run on three hits in 42⁄3 innings. The Hawkeyes added 2 runs in the bottom of the seventh to put the score at 4-3, but that was all they could muster off the Panthers’ pitchers.

“Sometimes, I think we press too much up at the plate,” Blaser said. “Guys want to get that hit so bad that they get themselves out. When the pressure keeps building on you, we have to find ways to release that and stay focused. We’re struggling, but I’m not completely discouraged. We have a big series coming up this weekend, so we need to be ready.”

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