Iowa baseball drops series finale to Minnesota


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Some errors are harmful. Others go away before they can do any damage and are quickly forgotten.

But against Minnesota, every one of Iowa’s 5 errors was costly and ultimately led to a 9-5 loss in the rubber match of a three-game series against the Golden Gophers at Banks Field on Sunday.

“Defensively, we need to be sharper than that,” catcher Keith Brand said. “We can’t give them three big innings with 3 runs. We pretty much gave them all of their runs. We’ve just got to tighten up that defense.”

Minnesota plated 3 runs each in the third, fifth, and seventh innings. Two one-out errors by shortstop Nick Roscetti allowed runners to reach base and advance on what should have been easy outs in the third. The Gophers made Iowa pay for the mistakes by mashing four singles following the errors.

The fifth inning included errors by Roscetti and first baseman Blake Hickman as well as a wild pitch that allowed Minnesota to score 3 runs despite only stroking one hit in the frame. The final error of the game was charged to Brand when a Gopher batter hit his glove on a swing, allowing him to go to first automatically.

“We just haven’t played very well on Sundays when we have the chance to win series,” Iowa baseball coach Jack Dahm said. “A lot of that stems to our defense. It’s not from a lack of effort. If anything, it’s our guys trying too hard. Our young guys want to do well, but they just press a little bit too hard.”

On the offensive side of the ball, the bright spots came in the middle innings for the Black and Gold. Nick Day reached base on a one-out triple and was later driven in by Eric Toole to cut what was then a 6-run Golden Gopher lead to 5. The lead was then trimmed to 3 the next inning thanks to an RBI single by Brand and a run-producing groundout by Dan Sheppard.

The final 2 runs for the Hawkeyes came in the seventh inning, after Minnesota had pushed its lead back up to 6. An RBI single by second baseman Jake Mangler and a run-scoring wild pitch brought the score to the final of 9-5.

“I thought we hit the ball well,” Toole said. “We did a really good job of hitting the pitches we needed to, squaring balls up, and hitting the ball hard. That pitcher was not an average pitcher. He throws between 90 and 93 from the left side. I thought we did a nice job against him.”

Minnesota’s starting pitcher was D.J. Snelton. The junior had a 0.73 ERA coming into the game against Iowa and had allowed only 2 earned runs on 11 hits in 24 innings pitched. Opponents had a lowly .138 batting average against the 6-7 southpaw.

The Hawks nearly doubled his season-hit total by connecting for 9 hits and plated all 5 of their runs against Snelton. Dahm said the Iowa offense was something to be proud of, even though the defense hindered the team’s performance.

“There were about 50 scouts here for a reason,” Dahm said. “When you can put up 5 runs against a guy that’s going to be a high draft pick, that’s a big positive.”

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