IOWA CITY — The answer to the trivia question remains “1965.”
The Iowa baseball team was on the verge Tuesday night of getting its first no-hitter in 53 years but had to settle for a combined one-hitter and 2-0 win over Northern Illinois at Duane Banks Field.
Joe Jumonville’s line-drive single to right field in the eighth inning was the lone hit for the Huskies against seven Hawkeyes pitchers. It wasn’t the prettiest gem you’ll ever see, considering NIU had baserunners galore (five walks drawn, a hit batsman and two Iowa errors).
But it was a gem. Iowa’s Cole McDonald threw a no-hitter over the summer in the World University Games international tournament in Taiwan, but 1965 still is the last time the Hawks have no-hit anyone in a nine-inning game.
That actually was a perfect game.
“I thought it’d have been cool to kind of get an all-staff no-hitter,” said Iowa right fielder Robert Neustrom. “Good for the kid who finally got a hit.”
Midweek, non-conference games have allowed Iowa Coach Rick Heller to get innings for lots of pitchers. Freshman Trenton Wallace got the start and went two innings, Ben Probst got the next two, freshman Jack Dreyer the two after that and Shane Ritter the seventh.
Cam Baumann, another freshman, saw NIU’s Scooter Bynum reach on a fielding error to begin the eighth, then Jumonville singled. Submariner Nick Nelsen relieved Bauman, with Tommy Washington bunting the runners into scoring position.
Nelsen then struck out the next two hitters to end the threat. Zach Daniels pitched a 1-2-3 ninth for the save.
Northern Illinois (11-24) came in hitting just .233 as a team.
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“It was an interesting game,” Heller said. “Seven pitchers, and I thought they all had really good stuff. At times, lacked some command. We walked five. But good stuff, induced a lot of weak contact, worked out of some jams ... It was really kind of a lifeless game. I’m going to come right out and say it. We did just enough to win.”
“Every pitcher that came in today either did a great job or put themselves in tough situations (and) other guys picked them up,” Daniels said. “It was an all-around good day for the pitching staff.”
Iowa (22-11) heads to Minnesota for three Big Ten games this weekend. The Hawkeyes are 6-4 in the league, which is good for sixth place.
Minnesota is 7-1 and in second behind Michigan (8-0). The top six teams in the league qualify for the Big Ten tournament.
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