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Bradley downs Iowa 5-2

BY IAN MURPHY | MARCH 26, 2015 5:00 AM

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The Iowa baseball team dropped a decision to Bradley, 5-2, Wednesday afternoon at Banks Field, and for the second-consecutive week used a parade of pitchers.

Iowa fell to 14-6 on the season. In what will likely become a midweek trend for the Hawkeyes, eight pitchers answered head coach Rick Heller’s call as Iowa emptied the bullpen in the loss.

Junior Connor Grant opened the game, lasting two innings before being pulled. Grant gave up 1 run.
Heller said the plan was to pull Grant after those two innings to get as many arms throwing as possible.

“You’re only going to get so many opportunities,” Heller said. “You don’t want to go three weeks without those guys having thrown and then all of a sudden need them.”

Grant did not have much offensive support behind him, something the Hawkeyes will need to change for their weekend series with conference big-dog Indiana; the Hoosiers are ranked No. 19 in the country.

From Grant on, only senior Nick Hibbing appeared in more than one inning. Heller said three of his pitchers struggled with command issues. Senior Brandon Shulista pitched two-thirds of an inning, giving up 2 runs and loading the bases before Hibbing came to the mound. Shulista was tagged with the loss.

Hibbing pitched out of that jam but surrendered a run in the next inning. The Hawkeye pitchers gave up 11 hits.

“You saw today how that can go awry,” Heller said. “We’re going to pitch better.”

To the pitchers’ credit, there was not much run support behind them. Iowa managed 10 hits but plated only 2 runs and left 10 on base. The pitching staff did have12 strikeouts.

“We weren’t ready to play,” senior Jake Mangler said. “We know what to do — we’ve done it a million times.”

Defensively, Bradley hit numerous pitches into gaps that allowed the Braves to advance runners quickly. Four of the Braves’ 11 hits were for extra bases.

Couple that with 4 walks from the Iowa pitching staff, and it’s no surprise the Braves jumped out to a lead.

“We just played terrible,” Mangler said.

The Hawkeyes had the makings of a rally going in the bottom of the ninth inning but could not complete the comeback, leaving two men on base.

Mangler hit a two-out RBI single to score junior John Barrett, who pinch hit for senior Kris Goodman, but senior Eric Toole was forced out at second on a fielder’s choice to end the threat and the game.

Struggles aside, Heller said he hopes his team will be able to put this game behind them and be ready for Indiana on Friday.

“We have to go out and play with more confidence,” Heller said. “You hope it’s just a bad day.”

Follow @IanFromIowa on Twitter for news, updates, and analysis about the Iowa baseball team.


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