IOWA CITY — A 20-game win streak in Division I college baseball is something to celebrate. So was the way that streak came to an end Friday night.
The Iowa Hawkeyes got another strong start from Nick Allgeyer, built a four-run lead and held on to beat Michigan, 4-2, before an announced crowd of 1,632 fans at Duane Banks Field.
That’s the first loss in the Big Ten Conference for the Wolverines (24-12, 11-1), their first loss of any kind since NAIA school Lawrence Technological University beat them March 14. Applaud them for a heck of a run.
Then applaud Iowa for the way it played this game: clean defensively, strong on the mound and solid at the plate.
“We heard it all week long: 20 games, 20 games,” said Iowa’s Tanner Wetrich. “We knew coming in that we wanted to end that streak. The focus was definitely there tonight, and we got it done.”
Wetrich’s two-out RBI single in the third inning gave Iowa (25-13, 8-6) an unearned run and lead it would never relinquish. Three more runs in the fourth against Michigan ace lefty Tommy Henry were driven in on a Kyle Crowl double, Matt Hoeg triple and Mitchell Boe single.
Henry came into the game with a sub-2.00 earned run average.
“I liked our approach against Henry,” said Iowa Coach Rick Heller. “We had a pretty good feel on how he was going to pitch us. Our guys didn’t try to do too much, did a good job of going the other way. Especially with the way the wind was blowing tonight, that’s what you needed to do.”
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That wind was a consistent 30 miles per hour and blowing from left field to right field. That assured any flyball hit to left was never going out and any fly to right, no matter if it wasn’t struck well, had a chance.
Lefty Allgeyer did a good job of pitching in the conditions, allowing six hits and a run in seven innings. He has been extremely consistent, this his ninth consecutive quality start.
“This was one of those starts where I felt pretty good going out there,” said the redshirt junior, who missed all last season after having Tommy John elbow surgery. “Had some nice warm weather. The wind was gusting pretty hard. Just had to keep the ball in and keep it down. That worked well tonight.”
Zach Daniels closed it out, though it got a bit hairy in the eighth, when Michigan scored a run and stranded the tying runs on base.
“I have a super amount of respect for what they’ve been able to do,” Heller said of Michigan. “For what Coach (Erik) Bakich and his staff does. They are very well coached, very prepared, they have really good players. You could just really tell that they are confident, they play within themselves. That’s what it takes if you are going to go on a streak like that.
“It felt good for us to be at home. I knew we’d give them a good game. Win or lose, I didn’t really know that. But I did know that we would go out there and give them a good game tonight.”
The teams play again Saturday afternoon at 2:05 and Sunday morning at 11:05.
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