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Iowa baseball can’t hang on against Maryland despite early highlights in Big Ten opener
Keaton Anthony’s first-inning grand slam and Brody Brecht’s 13 strikeouts are early Hawkeye highlights, but Terps rally for 10-9 win
IOWA CITY — Keaton Anthony’s first-inning grand slam provided the thunder.
Lightning struck twice with Sam Petersen’s solo home run two batters later and right-handed starter Brody Brecht blew away batters, striking out 13 in five innings pitched.
But Maryland was able to weather the early storm. Matt Shaw tallied four hits, including a grand slam and solo home run, and powered the Terrapins to a 10-9 victory over No. 25 Iowa in the opener of a three-game Big Ten Conference series at Duane Banks Field. It was the second straight loss for the Hawkeyes (19-5, 0-1).
“Obviously a tough loss, especially when you blow a lead like that,” Iowa Coach Rick Heller said. “I felt like our guys really came out ready to play. We executed our plan against (Maryland starting pitcher Jason) Savacool perfectly. The thing he was able to do was regroup after the first.”
The first half of the game was all Iowa. The Hawkeyes loaded the bases with an infield error sandwiched between two walks. Anthony launched an 0-1 pitch that landed beyond the left center-field fence. Petersen followed with a one-out homer to left that capped the five-run first. Raider Tello’s leadoff home run in the fifth put Iowa up 6-0.
The early outburst seemed like it could be enough with Brecht’s dominance in the early innings. He had three strikeouts in each of the first two innings, fanning 10 of the first 14 batters faced.
The hard-throwing right-hander reached 104 miles per hour on the radar gun and actually hit 98 mph on his 88th pitch. He allowed three runs on just five hits.
“I feel like I was just trying to get ahead,” said Brecht, who was hit by a line drive in the right ankle in the fourth but said it didn’t affect his performance. “When you get to 1-2 and 0-2, that helps a lot. You’re going to get a lot more chasing when you’re 1-2 and 0-2. That was my mindset going in.
“They’re a really good hitting team, so for me to get ahead, that helped a lot.”
Maryland (16-9, 1-0) stormed back with three in the fifth, including consecutive RBI singles from Nick Lorusso and Shaw, who gave the Terrapins their first lead at 7-6 with his grand slam the following inning.
Iowa tied it in the bottom of the seventh when catcher Cade Moss, a former Kirkwood player, was hit by a pitch with the bases loaded to score Anthony.
A power surge in the top of the eighth was the difference. Maryland’s Elijah Lambros led off with a home run and Lorusso and Shaw added back-to-back home runs for the decisive scores.
Iowa relievers allowed seven earned runs on six hits and three walks in four innings, leaving Brecht with a no-decision.
“I don’t fault our guys’ effort,” Heller said. “We played good baseball, defensively. We had a second half of the game where we just didn’t execute our pitches. We just didn’t. When we missed, they made us pay.”
The Hawkeyes pulled within a run in the eighth, getting an RBI double from Anthony and a sacrifice fly to plate Brennen Dorighi. Anthony had a team-high three hits and five RBIs. Dorighi and Tello added two hits apiece. Tello drove in two runs.
Iowa put the potential tying run on twice with walks in the ninth, but a caught stealing and groundout ended the game. Iowa stranded runners in scoring position in the first, third, seventh and eighth innings.
“We had a couple opportunities to get a two-out hit that could have broken the game open,” Heller said. “It didn’t happen.”
Iowa and Maryland are scheduled to resume the series Saturday at 2:05 p.m