Iowa’s college baseball season came to a conclusion Sunday night with a 7-5 loss to Houston in an NCAA regional elimination game at Schroeder Park in Houston.
The Hawkeyes (39-22) briefly held a two-run lead in the fifth inning and tied the game in the bottom of the eighth with Jake Adams’ 29th home run of the season. But the Cougars (42-20) scored twice in the top of the ninth to pull out the victory.
The game was delayed 5 1/2 hours because of storms and lightning in the area.
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) June 4, 2017
How it happened
Houston pitcher Mitch Ullom mowed down Iowa hitters through the first four innings. Ullom faced the minimum number of batters and threw just 40 pitches as the Cougars took a 1-0 lead.
Then in the fifth, Iowa’s bats took off. The Hawkeyes reached on five consecutive hits and scored three runs. Tyler Cropley stroked a one-out triple and scored on a single from Grant Judkins. Hits by Matt Hoeg, Ben Norman and Mitchell Boe scored Judkins and loaded the bases. Chris Whelan was hit by a pitch to plate Hoeg and keep the bases loaded with one out. But Iowa failed to capitalize further when Mason McCoy struck out and Adams flied out to center field.
The Cougars rallied in the top of the sixth for three runs to take a 4-3 lead. Iowa knotted the score in bottom of the sixth when Robert Neustrom led off with a double, reached third on a wild pitch and scored on a groundout.
Houston scored in the eighth to take a 5-4 lead. Adams homered on a towering solo blast to left field to tie the score at 5-5. The Cougars’ Connor Wong hit his own home run to lead off the ninth and allow Houston to retake the lead. Grayson Padgett’s two-out double later in the inning scored Corey Julks to add an insurance run.
In the bottom of the ninth, Norman reached on a one-out infield single, but the Hawkeyes’ final two batters struck out and flied out to end the game.
What it means for Iowa baseball
The Hawkeyes’ season is over after their second appearance in the NCAA regionals in the last three years. Before 2015, Iowa had not qualified for the postseason since 1990.
Adams, the unanimous Big Ten player of the year, remains the NCAA leader in home runs with 29. He also extended his Big Ten record in the process.
Mason McCoy, the Big Ten’s hits leader, was 0-of-4 from the plate for the Hawkeyes.
Who is next
Iowa’s season ends at 39-22. Houston (42-20) plays Texas A&M (38-21) at noon CT Monday. If Houston wins, the Cougars will play the Aggies 55 minutes after the first game. The winner advances to next week’s super regionals.
— Iowa Baseball (@UIBaseball) June 5, 2017