Given a chance to start the year with a series win, the Hawkeye offense went incognito.
Iowa mustered just four hits and struck out 10 times, leading to Sunday’s 6-0 series-finale loss to South Florida in Tampa.
The Hawkeyes generated little as far as scoring threats go, producing just two hits through the first eight innings against Bulls pitching. Starter Peter Strzelecki tossed five scoreless innings, while Iowa managed just four baserunners against the USF bullpen. The Hawkeyes struck out 39 times in the series.
The Bulls, meanwhile, jumped on sophomore Shane Ritter early, scoring three runs in the opening frame via two hits and two walks. Ritter lasted just the one inning after facing only six batters. USF tacked on single runs in the second, sixth and eighth against Hawkeye relievers.
A schedule change, though, gives Iowa its earliest home opener since at least 2004 and likely much longer. The Hawkeyes will host Loras College on Wednesday at 5 p.m. before heading to Hoover, Ala., for a weekend set against Alabama State (Friday-Saturday) and Morehead State (Sunday).
Dargan Southard covers preps, recruiting, Iowa and UNI athletics for the Iowa City Press-Citizen, The Des Moines Register and HawkCentral.com. Email him at email@example.com or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.