Iowa baseball falls in series finale to Kansas State


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The Iowa pitching staff kept the potent Kansas State offense off the scoreboard as much as possible, but the offense couldn’t keep the pace in a 5-3 Hawkeyes loss in the rubber match of a three-game series at Banks Field on Sunday.

Kansas State, which had the fourth-highest team batting average in the nation and didn’t have a starter hitting lower than .315 entering the game, connected for 14 hits in the contest. The Wildcats got 11 of those hits and all of their runs in the first five innings off of southpaw Iowa starter Sasha Kuebel.

The sophomore has been struggling this year, posting a 1-6 record with a 6.28 ERA entering the game, but got out of jams when needed to keep the game close.

“Sasha threw the ball all right,” Iowa head coach Jack Dahm said. “It was a very good offensive team on an offensive day. There were a couple plays out there we didn’t make defensively. They didn’t come across as errors, but that would have helped him there.”

Iowa didn’t get its first base hit of the game until sophomore designated hitter Ryan Rumpf stroked a leadoff single in the bottom of the third. Rumpf was later brought home by an RBI single by Eric Toole, to cut what was a 2-run Kansas State lead to 1.

Kansas State added a run in the fourth and 2 in the fifth to make the score 5-1, and the call was made to bring in senior pitcher Ricky Sandquist. The Fort Dodge native shut the Wildcats down in the final four innings of the game, surrendering 3 hits and striking out 3.

“Ricky Sandquist did a heck of a job coming out of the bullpen,” Dahm said. “He gave our team a big lift, not only in the way he threw but with an energy level in the dugout, too. The way he approached the mound changed how we were in the dugout, in the field, and offensively.”

The next Hawkeye hits didn’t come until the bottom of the seventh, when Taylor Kaufman and Jake Yacinich led off the frame with a single and a double. Dan Sheppard and Rumpf each followed with RBI groundouts to cut the lead to 2.

The Black and Gold got a two-out double from Sheppard in the bottom of the ninth, but Rumpf couldn’t keep the small rally going by grounding out to end the game.

“We started off a little slow, but we picked it up towards the middle and towards the end,” Toole said. “We put ourselves in a position to win the game, but we couldn’t put ourselves in a position to pull runs or hits through at the end of the game to get us where we needed to be.”

Sunday’s loss followed an 11-4 defeat on April 13 and a 6-1 Iowa win on April 12 that was arguably the best game the team has played all season. The squad put together its first error-free game of the year while pitchers Matt Dermody and Nick Hibbing allowed only 1 run on 7 scattered hits.

“In Friday’s game, we came up with some big hits and took advantage of their mistakes,” left fielder Kris Goodman said. “We just didn’t come up with those timely hits today.”

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