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Hawkeye baseball falls to Blackhawk Junior College

BY TOMMY REINKING | OCTOBER 17, 2011 7:20 AM

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Iowa's pitching shone, but the offense struggled in a 5-3 loss to Black Hawk Junior College at Banks Field over the weekend.

The game was the last on Iowa's fall exhibition schedule, in which the team went 0-2-2.

The Hawkeyes used 10 pitchers — five of them freshmen — in the planned 11 innings of play on Oct. 14. The pitching staff kept the team in the game, allowing five runs on seven hits while striking out 13 batters. Nine of the strikeouts were recorded by freshman.

"Our young guys threw really well," head coach Jack Dahm said. "We have a very talented staff, young and old. We extended them to get some experience and kept our top guys out. I'm happy with how they handled it."

On the other side of the spectrum, the Hawkeye bats couldn't get much offense going. The Black and Gold only had two hits until finally breaking through in the ninth inning, when they scored all three of their runs.

"Our offense didn't execute," Dahm said. "We haven't swung the bat well in games. It's strange because we do well in practice and intrasquad, but it isn't translating to games."

Freshman pitcher Andrew Hedrick was the standout Hawkeye hurler on the night. He allowed no hits and struck out four batters in two innings of work.

"I was struggling to get the curveball over in my first inning," he said. "Then I relaxed and kept my pitches low, and got the job done. We've got a tough pitching staff, and with mostly freshman throwing tonight, we showed that."

Senior first baseman Phil Keppler shined the brightest on the offensive side of play for Iowa. He went 2-for-4 with two doubles and an RBI but said the team still has some work to do offensively.

"We're trying to do too much — if we'd just keep it simple, we'd do better," he said. "We have good arms and good players. There were four or five warning-track shots. Things just didn't go our way."

At one point, the Hawkeyes went six innings without getting a hit. Dahm cited a lack of execution as the main factor of the offense's lackluster showing.

"In the first few innings, we had runners in scoring position, but we couldn't drive them in," he said. "In college baseball, you have to drive that runner on second base in 65 to 75 percent of the time. Executing wins games, and we didn't execute tonight."

But despite the loss — and despite some flaws in the Hawkeyes' game — Dahm said he still sees a possibility of the Hawkeyes becoming a quality team this spring. Last season, Iowa recorded a 20-32 overall record.

"We have talented pitching, and this can be a talented offense," he said. "We've got a lot of young speed that we can use, and with practice and learning experiences like this, the bats will come around."


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