IOWA CITY, Iowa – Izaya Fullard placed third at the base, driven there by Brendan Sher’s double.
Two runners on, no one out, sixth inning, Iowa down two runs after being once for six.
These entries are about May and, for the Hawkeyes, it meant a lot.
Then, too, the entrance ended.
Ben Wilmes, a point swing.
Brett McCleary, a point of view.
Kyle Huckstorf, looking ready.
There were three tickets left, but the game was really over.
Iowa’s 10-6 loss to Purdue on Saturday at Duane Banks Field was one of those games a team must win in May if it wants to have a chance at the NCAA tournament.
It was a bright, warm day, so unusual for this spring.
But everything is a little brighter and warmer in May, when the crucible of the college baseball calendar begins to squeeze.
The Hawkeyes (27-16 overall, 11-6 Big Ten) needed to get that win. A series win over the Boilermakers (26-15, 7-8) would be good: it would be the third in a row for Iowa in conference play.
But after a Tuesday defeat to the state of Illinois, a sweep of the Boilermakers would have looked much better.
The sixth entry condemned these hopes.
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“The sixth inning really killed us,” Iowa coach Rick Heller said. “That was huge.”
Iowa fell 6-0 after 3 and a half innings, but a fifth of four runs provided some life.
Fullard’s single, and then Sher’s double, put the Hawkeyes in position to tie the game, perhaps having another great entry like the previous one to take the lead.
And then nothing.
“Oh, it was huge,” said designated hitter Keaton Anthony, who hit a three-run home run on the left field at the fifth inning. “We had a lot of momentum in the sixth. A lot of guys were up, the energy was high. Brendan had his double. And then three strikeouts. We know it was unacceptable. That’s just not us. I felt a big momentum there “.
The Hawkeyes pitch could not regain that momentum. Brody Brecht put the ball away for 0 – 1. Troy Viola was the first to reach the corner kick, but his header was blocked by the keeper. A wild throw brought Viola to third place, and a second took him home by a 7-4 lead to Purdue. Three runs in the eighth in front of Chas Wheatley and Ben Beutel just added to the margin.
Iowa got two runs late in the eighth when Cade Moss’s two-out double scored Sher and Wilmes. Then Purdue’s short attack, Evan Albrecht, grabbed Huckstorf’s cross in the middle, and then made it bobble, but Albrecht threw the first to get Huckstorf to barely finish the entry. Huckstorf fired a shot that the keeper just missed.
They had been fighting all day behind. Connor Schultz gave up three runs in 2 ⅔ innings, Dylan Nedved gave up three runs and five hits in 3 ⅓ innings, and the hill looked too steep.
“It didn’t start well,” Heller said. “It simply came to our notice then. We didn’t throw well enough to win. “
These things happen in the May extension.
A win on Sunday would ensure another win in the series, but the Hawkeyes will have to make a streak of wins over the remaining two weeks to give themselves the best postseason opportunity.
“It’s what we do every day,” Heller said. “It simply came to our notice then.
“We’ll show up tomorrow. We’ll be ready to play.”