Iowa had its chances late but couldn’t put together a key hit in the ninth inning in a 3-2 loss to Texas A&M in an NCAA regional baseball game Saturday night.
The Hawkeyes had runners at second and third with two outs in the inning but left fielder Chris Whelan popped up to first base to end the game.
Iowa (39-21) plays host school Houston (41-20) in an elimination game at 3 p.m. Sunday. The winner faces Texas A&M at 8 p.m. Sunday. If the Aggies are beaten, a final game is scheduled for Monday night.
The Hawkeyes downed Houston 6-3 Friday night. The Cougars rebounded and eliminated Baylor 17-3 on Saturday.
How it happened
The Hawkeyes got the board first when third baseman Matt Hoeg singled and then moved to second on center fielder Ben Norman’s walk. Hoeg scored on second baseman Mitchell Boe’s single to right field.
Texas A&M put together a big inning in the fourth. Hunter Coleman singled to center and Blake Kopetsky reached on a single to right. Then Cole Bedford blasted a three-run shot over the left-field wall to give the Aggies a 3-1 lead.
Iowa closed the gap an inning later when first baseman Jake Adams hit a ball over the left-field fence for a home run.
The Hawkeyes had the heart of their lineup in the game in the eighth inning after shortstop Mason McCoy singled. But relief pitcher Cason Sherrod struck out Adams, Robert Neustrom and Tyler Cropley to end the inning.
In the top of the ninth. Grant Judkins reached on a walk, and pinch runner Justin Jenkins moved to second on a Norman sacrifice bunt. Boe singled off Sherrod’s glove to advance Jenkins to third. Boe then stole second, but Whelan popped up a 3-2 pitch to Coleman — the Texas A&M first baseman — for the final out.
Iowa’s Nick Gallagher (8-2) took the loss after giving up three runs over 5 1/3 innings.
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) June 4, 2017
What it means for Iowa baseball
The Hawkeyes are facing elimination games the rest of the weekend. In order to advance to super regionals, Iowa needs to win three more games.
Iowa first baseman Jake Adams clocked his 28th home run with a solo shot in the top of the fifth. Adams became the national leader and set the Big Ten record with the shot.
The Hawkeyes struggled at the plate with 12 strikeouts. Whelan, the leadoff batter, was 0-for-5 after getting two hits Friday night.
Who is next
Iowa plays Houston at 3 p.m. CT Sunday. Television options are undetermined.
— NCAA Baseball (@NCAACWS) June 4, 2017