TERRE HAUTE, Indiana – The number two seeded University of Iowa baseball team edged No. 3 North Carolina, 5-4, on Friday night at Bob Warn Field.
The Hawkeyes jumped out to an early lead before the Tar Heels rallied to make things close in the ninth.
Marcus Morgan got the start for the Hawkeyes and earned his fifth win of the season. He struck out five over five innings of work allowing just two hits and one earned run. Jack Whitlock threw three scoreless innings and Luke Llewellyn earned his fourth save of the season striking out two batters.
“I think Marcus showed his maturity,” said head coach Rick Heller. “Even though there were a couple of baserunners. I didn’t really feel like he was losing it, I felt like he had good stuff and was around the zone. He was throwing competitive pitches. The big thing Marcus was able to do tonight was put zeroes up and get shutdown innings after we scored. It has been a work in progress, but I really like where he is at and the progress he’s made in the last month.”
Kyle Huckstorf was 2-for-3 and Brayden Frazier was 2-for-4 with an RBI. Sam Hojnar tallied two RBIs and Ben Wilmes also plated a run.
The Hawkeyes outhit the Tar Heels, 9-7, and stranded 10 North Carolina baserunners.
“It’s going to be a good battle. Indiana State is a very good team,” said Heller. “I watched them play today. Their kids play hard and believe in one another and found a way to come back like they did today. Now, it’s both of us going to battle doing everything we can possibly do to win this next game. Both teams will be as prepared as anyone out there. It should be a really good game in a great environment with a lot of people watching.”
– Iowa moves to 43-14 on the year. The Hawkeyes are one win away from tying the program wins record set in 1981.
– Iowa moves to 8-11 in NCAA tournament play. The Hawkeyes are now 3-3 in the opening game in the NCAA tournament.
– The Hawkeyes have scored five or more runs in every win this season.
– This was Iowa’s fifth one-run game of the season; Iowa is 4-1 in those games.
– Hojnar picked up his 16th multi-RBI game of the season.
The Hawkeyes face top seeded Indiana State tomorrow at 5 p.m. (CT) at Bob Warn Field.