There’s opportunity in the weekend rotation if Grant Judkins wants to grab it. Hard to ask for a better start than Sunday.
Judkins tossed six no-hit innings with 11 strikeouts as Iowa cruised by Marshall, 10-0, in its Diamond 9 Sunshine State Classic Series finale. After a season-opening dud, the Hawkeyes (2-1) surrendered one run over their final 18 innings.
Judkins was brilliant from the jump. He retired nine of Marshall’s first 10 hitters and surrendered just four baserunners (three walks and a hit batsman).
Judkins exited after 83 pitches, and the Iowa bullpen toyed with a combined no-hitter. Cam Baumann pitched a 1-2-3 seventh and gave way to freshman Duncan Davitt, who gave up a one-out single to Jaren Lovely.
On the offensive end, Iowa picked up right where it left off Saturday. The Hawkeyes had a 4-0 lead after two and a 6-0 advantage after five. Iowa lit up the Marshall bullpen for two in the seventh and eighth as well.
Chris Whelan went 3-for-4 with three doubles, two RBIs and two runs scored. Tanner Wetrich finished 2-for-3, including a seventh-inning homer. Iowa also pounced on 14 Marshall walks and three Thundering Herd errors.
Overall, it was a decent opening weekend for Iowa. Friday’s loss saw plenty of mishaps across the board, but the Hawkeyes responded soundly with two blowout wins. Still, no long-term questions will be answered in one series.
Iowa is back on the road next weekend, traveling to Hawaii for a four-game series. The Rainbow Warriors opened the year with a series loss to Portland.
Dargan Southard covers Iowa and UNI athletics, recruiting and preps for the Des Moines Register, HawkCentral.com and the Iowa City Press-Citizen. Email him at firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.