Iowa seeks to win first season series against Nebraska-Omaha

BY TOMMY REINKING | MAY 07, 2013 5:00 AM

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The Iowa baseball team has played 42 games this season. It has yet to win a series against a single opponent.

The squad has dropped two out of three games to six opponents and been swept by one. Today, however, the Hawkeyes have a chance to take the season series against Nebraska-Omaha in what will be the fifth meeting between the two teams this season.

“It’ll be a great test against [Nebraska-Omaha] again,” Iowa hitting coach Zach Dillon said. “They’re a team that is very fundamentally sound and play the game the right way. They’re very well-coached, and we know what they’re all about.”

The teams first met for a three-game series from March 16-18 in Wichita, Kan. The games were supposed to be played at Banks Field, but the games needed to be relocated because of inclement weather. The Black and Gold lost the first game of the series, 9-6, won the second, 4-1, and dropped the finale, 7-6.

The squads met a month later on April 16 at Werner Park in Papillion, Neb. Iowa received a pair of great pitching performances in that game from freshman Calvin Mathews and sophomore Taylor Kaufman — in what has been the team’s only shutout of the season — for a 3-0 victory.

Sophomore Josh Martsching will take to the mound in his second start of the campaign in the game today — the first of only seven games left in the season for the Hawkeyes. Head coach Jack Dahm said the club wants to make the most out of what few chances they have left to get some wins.

“There are not very many games left in the season,” the tenth year coach said. “But these guys get to come out here and play Division I baseball, and that’s something a lot of people don’t get the chance to do. That should be motivation enough to go out there every day and play your best.”

This past weekend at Michigan, Iowa came as close as it had all season to winning its first series. The Hawkeyes won the middle game by a single run, but fell a run short themselves in the first and third matchups.

The team had a chance in the first game, with runners on second and third in the top of the ninth, but couldn’t bring one home to score. In the finale, the Black and Gold were four outs away from taking the series when Michigan hit a 2-run home run to give the Wolverines the lead and, ultimately, the win.

Sophomore catcher/infielder Anthony Torres said the Hawkeyes are eager to put those games behind them and focus on Nebraska-Omaha.

“We’ve kind of stayed with the mindset of always focusing on the next game,” the San Diego native said. “We just want to get out there and play some ball. That’s what keeps us going. We get to go out there and play baseball another day.”

Dillon said the team showed a lot of good things against Michigan that he hopes will continue into the game against Nebraska-Omaha. Even though Iowa didn’t win that series, what went well for the squad in those games could help the Hawks claim their first series win today against the Mavericks.

“I expect to see a good ball game,” Dillon said. “I hope they carry over the way they played all weekend. If they do that, we’ve got a really good chance.”

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