Photo Courtesy of Hawkeye Images

Iowa City – Despite a close game in the stat book, despite the tenth game with 12 or more strikeouts, the Iowa Hawkeye baseball team dropped it’s series opener with 12th ranked Texas Tech on Saturday.

It was the first of a seven game home stand at Duane Banks Field and it included the 12th ranked Red Raiders who marked the highest ranked team to come to Iowa City since Oklahoma State back in 2018. Unfortunately, a few errors and some free passes led to an 11-3 defeat. In all, the Hawkeyes issued seven walks on the day from the mound, five of which came around to the plate in the form of runs. Four of those walks were issued by Iowa starter Adam Mazur, who despite tossing mid-to upper 90’s yet again, went just four innings in the losing effort. He ended his night with six runs allowed, four of which were earned.

Tech’s Easton Murrell (.250 AVG) touched up his fourth home run of the season as he deposited Mazur’s fifth pitch of the game to put the Hawkeyes behind the eight-ball right out of the gate. Where the errors first hurt the Hawkeyes came in the third on an errant throw which scored two Red Raider runs. Murrell wasn’t the only one to touch’em all for Texas Tech as Cole Stilwell teed off of Iowa in the fourth which was made worse by the Dillon Carter triple and a walk as well in the inning. Thus, the Hawkeyes were down early by a 6-0 margin.

Ultimately, the Hawkeyes did farely well at the plate, hitting 13 points higher at the plate (.235) than Texas Tech, while going 10-of-15 in advancement opportunities. Of the glaring things to note with the offense, Iowa capitalized on just one of nine opportunities with runners in scoring position, including an 0-for-4 mark with the bases loaded. The Hawkeyes had just one extra-base hit all game long, which came in the eighth inning from Keaton Anthony. Up until then, a Ty Snep RBI single (third of the season) in the fourth and a Peyton Williams RBI groundout in the fifth was all the offense Iowa mustered up. Iowa did end up with eight hits but Texas Tech starter Brandon Birdshell did all he could to dwarf that production, tossing tossing just over 85 pitches through five innings while sending eight Iowa batters back to the dugout via strikeout.

Despite Iowa’s production in the eight, it was Texas Tech to take the spotlight with a trio of walks and a pair of run producing doubles. That helped boost the Red Raiders to their 11-3 win final.

In the end, Iowa did see nine batters reach base safely but the Hawkeye still surcame to defeat, their third over the last five games. Iowa now stands at 8-8 on the year, despite the 4-0 start to the 2022 campaign. It may seem like a tough pill to swallow now, but just remember that the Hawkeyes did start out 4-7 a year prior, only to end up with a 26-18 finish. Iowa did post up seven losses within the first 16 games back in the 2016-17 season yet the Hawks did go on to post 39 total victories on the year, so it’s still up in the air as to the way 2022 will end up.

We played a good team and faced a good arm and the top half of their lineup is dangerous, but we just didn’t play well. We made it easy for them and didn’t make them earn it. They got some hits when we gave them free bases, but other than the leadoff home run, there were seven walks and five score.

“In the third inning, we dropped a pop up, there was a walk, intentional walk, and we get what we want and make an error and two runs score. You’re not going to win a lot of games doing that. That’s the disappointing part because I feel we’re capable. Right now, it’s just not happening on a consistent basis.”