Forced to navigate another Big Ten weekend full of bad weather and schedule changes, Iowa opened the Nebraska series with a doubleheader split.
Behind Nick Allgeyer’s strong start and some late offense, the Hawkeyes ran away with Game 1, 7-1, on Friday afternoon at Haymarket Park in Lincoln, Nebraska. The Cornhuskers, though, returned the favor with a 10-4 win in the nightcap.
Wintry weather is scheduled for Saturday and Sunday, making a Friday doubleheader the most logical option. The Hawkeyes (21-11, 6-4 Big Ten Conference) have now played a doubleheader in three of their first four conference series.
Unlike the last two, Iowa opened Friday’s baseball marathon with a win. Nebraska started Game 1 with an unearned run off Allgeyer, then got nothing else. The 6-foot-3 southpaw yielded five hits and struck out four over seven solid innings, doing so on an effective 82 pitches.
Allgeyer hasn’t gotten a whole lot of run support in some of his previously strong starts, but he picked up plenty Friday. The bottom of the order took care of business, as Iowa’s 7-8-9 hitters — Justin Jenkins, Ben Norman and Mitchell Boe — finished 6-for-12 with four RBIs.
Boe broke a 1-1 tie with a two-run double in the fourth, then Iowa tacked on four late runs to put the opener away. Boe, Chris Whelan and Robert Neustrom all had run-scoring knocks in the Hawkeyes’ three-run eighth.
The Iowa bats spilled that late production into the start of the nightcap, as Neustrom began the game with a first-inning solo homer. But the Nebraska offense soon awoke.
Hawkeyes right-hander Brady Schanuel had only served up two homers in 37 innings entering Friday’s start, but the Cornhuskers (16-17, 3-8) tagged him for two long balls in a four-run third.
Jesse Wilkening and Angelo Altavilla each launched two-run homers to hand Nebraska a 4-1 lead. Schanuel was pulled after three-plus frames, surrendering five hits and four runs with five strikeouts.
Tyler Cropley clubbed his own two-run homer in the fourth to pull the Hawkeyes within one, but Nebraska scored six of the game's final seven runs off Iowa’s still-spotty bullpen. Hawkeyes coach Rick Heller was tossed in the eighth inning for arguing balls and strikes.
The two teams will try to avoid the unfavorable forecast and squeeze in Sunday's series finale. First pitch is scheduled for 1:05 p.m., with ESPNU televising.
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 firstname.lastname@example.org or follow him on Twitter at @Dargan_Southard.